CONTRIBUTED BY JULIE
A little while ago I ordered the apple sauce from Burger King in an effort to get my son to eat healthier when we do fast food. Noticed that the expiration date was Oct 05, 2005!! Almost had a heart attack as I had fed him most of it. Luckily, he was fine. I complained to the manager and her response was that they know about it but all the food is inspected when it gets to the island and they (the officials) have basically EXTENDED the expiration date to be April 2007. She says it tastes fine and no one has gotten sick. This actually didn’t make me feel better as I started to wonder what else they have extended the expiration date on…..
Regardless of what the officials say I’m not feeding my two-year-old apple sauce that was made before he was born! I know that because a lot of the goods on base are shipped from the states, perishables can expire very quickly here. I just didn’t realize how old things can get or how vigilant I needed to be about checking expiration dates. Contrary to popular belief I’m actually not an expiration nazi. However, feeding my two-year-old food that is two years beyond expired though is asking wayyy too much.
The good news is that I posed this in an email to several other moms. Apparently there is something you can do about this.
Julie suggested I call 643-3028 and the PMTs who inspect the restaurants can look at the apple sauce closely when they do their next inspection.
Heather actually went to the AAFES website and submitted a guest comment on the situation. She received a reply from the AAFES Okinawa Food Manager who promised to pull the applesauce. The following is his email response which was very informative:
My name is Michael Wall and I’m the AAFES Okinawa Food Business Manager. I received your comment on the expired applesauce dated October 2005 and even though the Camp Kinser Veterinary office had granted an extension until April 2007, I have requested the remaining supply be pulled. Because most of the food and commissary consumable items are shipped from CONUS, there are often times where the Veterinary office will test products to ensure they are still of good quality and safe for consumption. They then grant shelf life extensions accordingly and each activity receives documentation, to keep on hand as verification of the extensions.
I apologize for any inconvenience this situation has caused. As a parent of three children and the husband of a Food Technology graduate, I can empathize with your concerns about food safety and hope that by taking the initiative to pull the product, even though it has a shelf life extension through April 2007, it demonstrates our commitment to providing you the best service possible. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance and we look forward to serving you again in the near future.
Okinawa FBM 645-8033 wallm@aafes. com
Someone else also mentioned that they freeze many of the foods so that the expiration dates can be extended. Don’t know about that but I think this serves as a warning for all of us buying goods on base to check expiration dates. This especially applies to moms of young children who are more vulnerable to food poisoning.
One final comment, one parent noted that:
I do agree it’s alarming at first sight of those expiration dates. You’ll notice quickly that most items in our bases commissaries have items that are expired or are days from expiring. Your only alternative is to shop out in town and you’ll be paying a lot more for a piece of mind. I’ve been here almost 3 years and have never had any problems with the food.
So at least it’s good to know that despite the expiration dates people don’t seem to be getting sick. Would love to know what you think…..
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Thanks for the post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told the comissary workers about expired items. If an item is on sale and is perishable, check the date!!! Also, taste your childrens milk, from restaurants, before you let them drink it. My 3 year old daughter loves milk and just last month we ordered milk from Chili’s that was soured.
A real life doctor had this to add:
Generally, expiration dates on items indicate that the product would be best if used by the date. The food won’t hurt you but the quality may be reduced. Some items such as canned tomatoes may cause the can to deteriorate and the contents should not be used if it is rusted, dented, or swollen.