Exposed: Grocer selling expired food in S. Toledo

By Mika Highsmith - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

SOUTH TOLEDO (WTOL) - He's hidden to protect his identity, but this south Toledo resident said he speaking out to protect you. "We're not getting what we're paying for," he said.

He frequents Sammy's Mart, a south Toledo neighborhood carryout, nearly every night because it's convenient. What he came out with last Saturday isn't so useful. "Expired goods, a whole bunch of expired goods," he explained.

We're talking hot dog buns that expired a few weeks ago in August and cookies that are over a year old, dated September of 2008.

This resident contacted us out of concern for others. "If he's selling that stuff to me, you know he's selling it to other people. He doesn't really care. To him its all about making a dollar."

So we sent him back into the store a few days later to confirm his claim. Once he entered, he went straight to the shelves and picked up expired products -- everything from snack foods to cream cheese that expired back in July.

He then went up to register to confront the clerk. "I was going to buy this stuff, but its no good."

The clerk picks up the products, checks out the dates then gives his explanation: "When I bought the store I didn't check." According to the Health Department, that transaction went through about six months ago.

Our subject offered to give him a hand. "Want me to go back and look for more?"

The owner replied, "I'll take a look. I'll take a look and throw it away."

So did he do it? We went in the next day to see for ourselves. The owner told us they threw everything away that was expired.

Problem Solver Mika Highsmith went back to check for herself. He may have thrown out some merchandise but not everything. She found pork cracklins that expired last week and the cream cheese from July was still there.

"You said you threw it all away," Mika commented to the owner.

"You make a big deal out of this. Take me to court. How's that?"

When Mika replied that she would call the health department, Sammy said, "Get out of here and take that sh**." The owner repeatedly told Mika not to make a big deal out of this and to get out of the store.

Mika kept her promise and sent the health department in to investigate further.

According to the investigators, there are no laws requiring store owners to check expiration dates and remove items from the shelf. Therefore, there was no violation. However, they did make him get rid of all spoiled items and will follow up on a routine basis.

It's news that makes our subject glad he spoke up. He's also urging other consumers who find outdated products to do the same. "I don't think he needs to be in business if he's selling stuff like this to people."

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