When you go shopping for groceries, the last thing you’d want to do is buy chicken that isn’t fresh – right? That’s why we all check the dates on those white labels. But we were shocked to find when you do that in some local stores – you could be getting tricked into buying something that may make you sick.

Cindy Rice Andrea, Food Safety Expert

"That’s alarming, it’s dangerous to the consumer."

We found the sell-by dates on the top of all of these packages of chicken are wrong. The labels claim the chicken is still fresh days after the store was supposed to stop selling it. How’d we find out? We just looked at a different date – this date – on the side of the package. The government requires all chicken companies to put one on each individual package they ship out. It shows the last day the chicken should be sold.

Now look at this: The label on top of this package – put on by the supermarket – says the chicken can be sold until March 27. But look – the real sell by date is March 24! three days earlier. We found dangerous double-dating – on multiple packages – at two different grocery stores in the same chain. *This* chicken is actually a whole week older than the store’s label says!

The label says: sell by March 31.

But The real sell by date is March 24!


"Is there any way this is acceptable?"

Thomas Goodfellow, Boston Inspectional Services

"Absolutely not, absolutely not. You can’t do that. You’re not telling the public the truth."

Goodfellow and his inspectors check Boston grocery stores for health violations. And he says we found a big one.

Thomas Goodfellow, Boston Inspectional Services

"Its improper, it’s unethical, and it’s a violation of the state sanitary code."


"What could happen if you brought this chicken home to your family?"

Cindy Rice Andrea, Food Safety Expert

"Every day that goes past the sell by date, even if that product is cold in your refrigerator, the bacteria slowly grows. And after a few days past the expiration date, the bacteria levels could be very dangerous."

We checked several stores in other grocery chains – and found in each one the sell-by date – put there by the chicken company – matched exactly with the sell-by date the store put on top of the package. And now that you know about these double dates – you can check for yourself before you buy.

Bottom line: A retailer cannot change any dating label put on by the poultry company…If you find that happening at your grocery — you should absolutely report it to your local health or inspectional services department.

(Copyright (c) 2011 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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