Buying Baby Formula? Check Your Dates

Sometimes when we’re in the supermarket, our minds are going a million miles an hour.  For me, a typical shopping trip means at least one child with me (sometimes none or both, but usually one), an iPhone in my hand for a grocery list, stopping at three stores, and trying to keep my sanity.  It also means buying baby formula in a two week supply since I feel that there are some things for which one should never have to make an emergency trip to the store.

I usually try to check the dates of the stuff that I buy.

Buying Baby Formula?  Check Your Dates (Motherhood Looms)

Did you check the date before you bought?

I’ve worked in grocery stores.  That was how I paid my way through school.  I know that not all places are as amazing at rotating their stock as others.  And knowing that one of my local stores is really, really crappy about checking dates (I bought a bag of moldy shredded cheese once), I’ve had to become even more careful.  I’m not willing to load up my spawn to go back to the store over a bag of cheese.  It’s just not an effective use of my time.  That means that I need to be smart and check before I put it in the cart.

Apparently, this issue goes far beyond the dairy case.  In Vancouver, two out of six stores checked had expired formula.

Expired baby formula.  Look, while I’m fairly flexible with my dates (Canadian standards require a six month past “best by” dates on most foods), it’s not quite so easy with stuff for babies.  When buying baby formula, take a look at the can.  It’s not a “best by” date.  It’s a hard and fast expiration date.

While I’m not willing to go back to the store for a bag of cheese, I assure you, I’d most definitely be going back to the store over buying baby formula that’s not safe for my child.

Before you think that this is strictly a Canadian issue, it’s not.  Canadian laws just don’t allow for heavily fining stores that violate the laws.  In the States, they have fines.  Even those fines still don’t prevent it.  People were at risk for buying baby formula past its expiration date in New Jersey, too.

I’m not going to insist that it’s malicious or that the stores are trying to make a buck.  I’ve worked in grocery stores.  Rotating stock is something that does not happen on every grocery truck.  I cleared a ton of expired aspirin out of the health and beauty aids department that I worked in ages ago.  But when it comes to buying baby formula and other things for our children, we’re the last line of defense.  Take a look at your dates before you buy.

Have you ever bought anything past its expiration date at the store?  How did you handle it?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. Great post! Yes, always check the dates on food, formula and otherwise. Stores should not be selling expired products but do.

    • Sure. I’d say that 90% of the time, it’s due to oversight/human error rather than deliberately selling it, but the fact that it happens at all means we all need to be vigilant.

  2. Wow!! Thank you for the warning!! Yikes!!

  3. Mama_de_Gabi_Y_Mari says:

    A couple times I have found an almost too good to be true sale on something only to discover that the date on it is either past or that same day.

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