New Law: Jail for a Year for Sellers of Expired Food Products

June 22, 2014  

Currently, there is no law in Israel against the sale of food products whose sell-by date has passed, but that is set to change. The Ministerial Law Committee on Sunday approved a proposal by MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Amnon Cohen (Shas) that will require stores to remove expired products from their shelves.

Anyone who does try to sell such products, the bill states, would be subject to a heavy fine at the minimum, and could be sentenced to as much as a year in prison. The law is expected to pass easily.

While most large stores and supermarket chains have strict rules about removing expired products from their shelves, consumers have reported finding that they had bought expired products unwittingly – discovering their mistake only when getting home, and sometimes only after opening a product. Chains generally “offload” products that are nearing their expiration date to wholesalers, who sell them to smaller groceries or to retailers in the open marketplace (the shuk).

The consumers who shop in those stores are generally poorer and do not have the means or ability to get to the bigger supermarkets, and are much more likely to mistakenly buy an expired product, the MKs said.

The MKs said that the sale of such products endangered the public. Responsibility for preventing the sale of such products, they said, must rest with the sellers, who must make sure that it does not happen.

Levin said “it is unthinkable that dangerous products will be available for purchase by unsuspecting consumers without interference. We felt it was about time to deal with this important consumer need.”

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