Responding to public reaction to an announcement on Monday that expired foodstuffs will be made available for purchase as of September 1, the Development Ministry's general secretary for consumers, Giorgos Stergiou, said on Tuesday that the directive had been misinterpreted by media reports and does not represent a public health hazard.
Speaking on Skai television, Stergiou assured consumers that the new directive does not concern expired food products, but those with a long shelf life that have passed their "sell-by" date.
"This particular directive in no way concerns products with a specific expiration date but, rather, products with a minimum storage date recommendation," Stergiou assured. "It in no way affects public safety and product quality, as it concerns foodstuffs whose 'sell-by' date is applied strictly for marketing purposes by the manufacturer."
According to the new regulation, retailers will be allowed as of September 1 to sell products that are past their "sell-by" date at a discount to consumers after ensuring that they are clearly marked as such and placed separately from regular foodstuffs.
Products with a day and month of expiration must be sold within a week of that date; those with a month and year can be sold within a month of expiration and those with an expiration year only will be made available for three months past that date.
The directive also stipulates that these products cannot be served to consumers at restaurants, bars, cafes, etc.
The announcement of the new regulation on Monday sparked angry reactions from consumers concerned about the quality of the products that would be put on sale on social media and news websites.