Ask LH: How Do I Report A Shop For Selling Off Food?

Dear Lifehacker, I bought some pork rolls and fried pork cakes from an Asian grocery shop in April. I did not check the expired date until my family finished the first fried pork cake. I then saw on the label “use by 24FEB2017”. I called the shop today and the staff there did not say sorry to me but spoke to me as if that is not their responsibility. They just told me to bring the foods to the shop and talk directly to them. So, I am writing to ask you what I should do in this case? Should I let any officer know about this matter? Thanks, Duon

Dear Duon,

Though businesses are allowed to sell products past a Best Before date, selling them past a Use By date is illegal. These guidelines are put in place by Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Food Standards recommends sending through the following information in a complaint:

I would also recommend taking a few photos as evidence.

Here are the contact details of departments you can complain to, by state:

Australian Captital Territory

New South Wales

Northern Territory


South Australia



Western Australia

As for whether you go to the store or take this directly to the authorities, that’s your call. The complaint is always an option, should they fail to handle the situation. It’s possible that it’s a simple – and rare – case of human error. It’s also possible that you’d be protecting future customers of the store by taking things further.



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