Expired food, meds sold at North Miami Beach Dollar Star

FDA does not ban sale of expired products except infant formula

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The One and Only Local 10 News discovered outdated and expired food and medicines being sold to the public at the Dollar Star in the Mall at 163rd Street in North Miami Beach.

A concerned Local 10 News viewer wanted to know why this was allowed.

"They are putting us all at risk," the viewer said in an email.

Local 10 News found a single small carton of organic milk that said "Best If Used By" July 2013. There was also tartar sauce made with eggs that was months past its "Best By" date.

At the entrance of the same store,  there were bins full of expired medicines and vitamins for sale. Among them there were  children's Dimetapp. It had expired six months ago.

The sale of the items is perfectly legal. With the exception of infant formula, the Food and Drug Administration does not prohibit the sale of food or medicine that is past the expiration date or "Use By" date.

In fact, the dates consumers see on those products are placed on the product by manufacturers to protect themselves. Attorney Edgar Asebey-Birkholm, of Fort Lauderdale, specializes in FDA law.

"Those dates are used for a consumer as guidance," said Asebey-Birkholm. "It's for consumers to pick something up and say 'Oh, wait this is expired, I'm not going to buy it.'"

In Florida, it is only against the law  to sell eggs or dairy products after their "Use By" date. Florida has no law that governs expired medicines. But the FDA does have a warning on its website titled "Don't Be Tempted To Use Expired Medicines."

The FDA article said using expired products could be risky and possibly harmful. The FDA also said that over time there could be a change in the chemical composition of the product.

"I would not give these to my kids," said Dr. Goar Alverez, assistance dean of pharmacy services at Nova Southeastern University. "Is it 90 percent potency? 80 percent? 70? We really don't know."

Alverez said consumers should be very careful with anything past an expiration date.

"The expiration date is there for a reason," Alverez said.

There is a huge market for these discounted outdated products.

"We do our best to educate our customers with signage, telling them that some of our items are indeed past their 'Best Before' date," said Ralph Lobodzinski of Dollar Star. "We follow all state laws and are inspected multiple times a year by the agriculture department."


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