Surplus groceries sold at auctions
Posted: July 28th, 2009 - 1:25pm by Casey Jacob
Half-price cream cheese? And the brand name, no less! I saw they were getting close to their expiration dates, but I bought three, anyway. They'll keep just fine in the freezer until I'm ready to bake another pumpkin cheesecake.
Lots of shoppers buy groceries with this money-saving mentality, which has opened the market for expired food sold at discounts. It has also sparked an increase in grocery auctions for the sale of damaged, dented or surplus foodstuffs that are often close to passing their expiration dates.
At Big Harry's Auction in New Jersey, regular runs to regional food distribution centers and a wholesale food auction provide an ever-changing variety of food items for the public to bid on.
"And while Big Harry's is subject to health department inspections and offers a money-back guarantee on food purchases," writes an Asbury Park Press staff writer, "buying frozen food at auction requires something of a leap of faith. [Auction operator Vince] Iacono says he'd never sell perishable frozen food that was thawed and then refrozen, which can cause spoilage, but all he can do is trust that his haulers will abide by the same policy."
That's true for all food businesses: they have to rely on everyone before them in the farm-to-fork food chain to handle products as safely as they do. It's always important to know your suppliers.