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Viewers irked about expired food at West End convenience store

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Would you buy chocolate cookies from 2007 or grapefruit juice that expired six months ago if it was on the shelf in your favorite store?

CBS 6 News' Shelby Brown followed up on a tip from some customers concerned about expired food at a Henrico convenience store.

As a result, Brown headed to the store, making two trips to buy items over the last two weeks.

She spotted some cookies from July 2007, which were the oldest product on the shelves.

Brown purchased cookies with a best by date of August 2011 and a bottle of grapefruit juice dated six months ago.

Some concerned consumers, like John Mehfoud, say they're floored to see items like that being sold.

"I would tell the merchant, 'I'm not going to deal with him again,'" said Mehfoud. "I would not buy their products. If we sent that stuff to third world countries, they wouldn't accept it." 

While some may cringe at the thought of buying such outdated food, it's not illegal.

In fact, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the only products that must contain a valid expiration date are grade A dairy items like milk and infant formula.

"All other foods, the dates are strictly voluntary. People need to make a judgement on their own. Now, if it's way out of date, there may be a loss of quality," explained Elaine Lidholm, a spokesperson for the agency.

CBS 6 took our expired food back to the convenience store's manager, who seemed shocked to see the 5-year-old cookies.

Off camera he explained vendors stock the shelves on a regular basis and do their best to cycle out old food. He also says the store plans to do a sweep and remove the expired products. He also refunded the money Brown spent on the juice and cookies.