Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Re-dating chickens' sell by date is legal

The chicken incident was repeated at the end of last week, when I went to see what was in the poultry case at Key Food. Just curious to see what their labels would say two weeks later.

Incredibly, I discovered that the date-switcheroo had been repeated!

Store label on top of the organic chicken, above. Producer's label below. Most of the original labels had been torn off, this one had been left on.

But: According to the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets, a store can, at its discretion re-label a sell by date on perishable food. This from Andy Campbell, the reporter investigating the chicken incident for the Brooklyn Paper, here.

"At its discretion."

Key Food on Atlantic's discretion was to re-label one chicken's sell by to 11 days after the original sell by date. The chicken above was re-labeled by 8 days.

Define discretion.

It's the NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets that has some 'splaining to do. When they wrote to me about Chicken #1 they said they found no evidence on site (the D'Artagnan chickens in question were not in stock when they visited) of tampered-with sell by dates. That would imply that it did not condone such behaviour...

So which is it?

The Huffington Post version of the story is getting attention.

[6-7-10:Here is PETA's vegan-angle take on it]

Good.

I have written to the Department in Albany, asking them to explain what 'discretion' means. Also who - in a store - makes the call on whether perishable meat is still safe for consumption, and how it is done...

And why, if a sell by date is not intended for the customer, why it is visible at all?

It all seems to be an elaborate, bureaucratic hoax.
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