By Nawara Fattahova
KUWAIT: Foods with a long shelf life cannot remain for sale at grocery stores until the last day of validity. The allowed period till when they can be displayed depends on the period of expiry. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry sets these periods, and stores have to follow them.
Products with a shelf life of three years or more, such as oil, sugar, etc, should be removed from shelves 60 to 90 days before the date of expiry printed on the package. Products with a shelf life of two years, such as canned foods like hummus, foul, etc, should be removed from shelves 45 to 60 days before the date of expiry. Products with a shelf life of one year, such as canned tuna, biscuits, etc, should be removed from shelves at least 30 days before the date of expiry.
President of the Consumer Protection Association (CPA) Mishal Al-Manea explained all markets should respect these periods, otherwise they will be penalized. “Customers can report violations at the Consumer Protection Department. The consumer also has the right to return the product if they find it is near expiry, if they have the invoice,” he told Kuwait Times.
There are instructions for receiving and storing food products. “Certain rules should be followed when receiving products from suppliers. The basic rules should be applied to all products. For instance, the store should not accept products whose production period is longer than the period remaining to their expiry,” explained Manea.
“Fresh products or daily-produced items, whose expiry period is less than a week, should be removed from the shelves or refrigerators one day before or on the same day of expiry, depending on the condition of the product,” he added. The responsibility is on both the director of the supermarket as well as the product distributor. The director should check the expiry of all food products.
Kuwait Times asked various grocery stores and supermarkets about the possibility of refunds for products with expiry dates closer than the period set by the ministry. Two well-known supermarkets and two co-ops in different areas confirmed that if the consumer wants a refund for any product whose expiry date is shorter than the period set by the ministry, then they will be refunded. But the consumer should always keep the invoice to be able to return the product.