Do I have a claim if I purchased and consumed an expired food item from a store?

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Do I have a claim if I purchased and consumed an expired food item from a store?

I purchased a bottle of apple juice not knowing the expiration date was past before the date I shopped. My family and I have drunk the whole bottle but we did not get sick or anything. I still have the receipt and the bottle. Do I have a claim?

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Personal Injury, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, as a practical matter you do not have a claim.

That is, legally, if the store was still stocking expired merchandise or food, it may be that they breached their duty of care either carelessly (negligently) or intentionally and could be liable for any resulting injuries.

However, the U.S. legal system is designed to compensate for actual injuries or losses; except in the cases of the most egregious (most awful) conduct, it is very rare to get any compensation or money beyond an amount equivalent to the damage, injuries, or costs you suffered. If you and your family did not get sick--and so did not suffer any injuries--there is nothing to sue for; you could sue, win, and not recovery any money, because there were no damages.


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