As I was restocking cases of frozen food items with my colleague last weekend, I try to make it a priority to rotate products.

Now keep in mind with a U shaped float can be loaded with the range of 50 to 70 cases of frozen food with the task of a grocery clerk to replenish the shelves and complete the float within thirty minutes or the frozen “chain” is broken resulting in the product may not be edible or decrease its shelf life (remember when buying milk to store it in temperature under 40 degrees to ensure shelf life indicated on the carton or bottle). Thus, when restocking frozen as well as dairy products it must be done quick.

In addition to being quick and efficient, stock clerks (food brokers) need to rotate the products. First in and First Out (FIFO) is concept preached by grocery managers who care about the integrity of their products. The worst thing we want to happen is when someone picks a product off the shelves and notices to their alarm that the best before date has already passed.

When I was rotating product yesterday, filling frozen foods I noticed two boxes that passed their expiration date. I had to reach way back in the frozen shelf and extract the boxes. Thankfully, I checked the dates on the side of the box before putting them back on the shelf.

It is so important to check the dates on anything you purchase. A big issue, ironically, is that it can be a challenge to locate a best before or expiration date, It is digitally printed on the product and can be hard to read. For example “2016” can be read as “2o18”. Yes, there are products with a shelf life of about two years and no, it is not astronaut food.

If you find a product out of date, inform the manager on duty, they will take action on rotating products than a grocery clerk, who may be getting paid about nine bucks an hour and is not phased by the out of date product.

It is the consumer who runs and demands quality in the supermarket. Utilize your purchasing power and make sure all of your products have a date that is not in the past, but rather in the future.