Food Safety

Report: Amazon Selling Expired Food

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Oct 21, 2019

Expired food products are being sold on Amazon regularly, annoying brand owners and forcing them to take steps to deal with the problem, according to a report on CNBC.com.

CNBC surveyed online customer complaints and interviewed buyers, sellers and food processors for an article that detailed how food often arrives past its sell-by date, sometimes stale or spoiled. For example, Teavana items were listed for sale, presumably purchased for resale when Starbucks closed all of its Teavana retail locations – a year or more ago. In one case, customers complained that the bottles of Fiji water they ordered through Amazon were actually used bottles filled with tap water.

The problem is that many items for sale on the Amazon site are sold by third-party purchasers, who are subject to inconsistent supervision. Amazon requires items intended for consumption to have a shelf life of at least 90 days, but enforcement of that policy seems questionable.

A spokesperson for Danone said in such cases, that brand owners are hurt alongside consumers: “The maker of that product[’s] brand and reputation are now called into question out of no act or fault of their own and, in fact, in a way they can’t prevent it.”

An Amazon spokesperson said in response that the company has procedures in place to ensure quality and added, "If we find a product doesn’t meet our guidelines, we remove it from sale and take appropriate action against the seller, which may include removal of their account."