Amazon is known as the “everything store,” but perhaps we should be a little more cautious about buying everything from there, especially stuff you eat. According to a report published by CNBC yesterday, customers are finding that food they order from Amazon is arriving spoiled or past its expiration date.
Customers have complained about curdled coffee creamer, hot sauce and granola bars and even baby formula and baby food that arrived past its sell-by date. The problem, according to CNBC, is with Amazon’s third-party seller marketplace, where gaps in Amazon’s technology and systems have allowed these expired items to proliferate. CNBC used a data analytics firm to examine Amazon’s 100 best-selling food products and discovered that “at least 40% of sellers had more than five customer complaints about expired goods.” CNBC’s findings come just a couple of months after The Wall Street Journal found Amazon’s marketplace was selling “thousands of banned, unsafe or mislabeled products.”
For its part, Amazon seems to be brushing aside any deep concern, telling CNBC that any products sold on its marketplace must comply with Amazon policies, including providing expiration dates for consumables.
Amazon’s apparent lax approach to oversight could present a pretty big problem for the company when it comes to food. These issues around expired food are surfacing at a time when Amazon wants to get more into grocery. In addition to Whole Foods, which the company owns, Amazon is also reportedly looking to open up its own chain of grocery stores. While we don’t know much about this new chain, it will undoubtedly have an e-commerce component, and the last thing Amazon wants is having its brand associated with widespread bad or expired food as it launches this endeavor
For now, however, the best course of action for consumers is to be aware of the problem, and be ready to skip buying certain things from the everything store.