After many phone calls, I spoke with someone in the FDA. I found out the following:
1.) Even though you see product sell by, expiration dates, etc. on almost all products, this is voluntary information provided by the company. It should be a law, but it is not.
2.) If there is no expiration date and the food is expired when a customer buys it, there is nothing that the FDA can do.
3.) The power of the pocket book is the only way to maintain voluntary information from a company. That is, if you don’t see an expiration date, do not buy it. Buy products that have not only an expiration date, but several codes which might indicate source, packaging and other data necessary to track down potential sources of food contamination.
4.) If you have a problem with a food, immediately contact the company and provide as much information as you have about their product, any health problems you or your pets experienced, etc. Don’t throw away the food. Don’t throw away the package. You need to store it as any other food of that type, but keep it tightly wrapped. After the company, or a medical doctor requests a sample of the product, then it’s OK to throw the food away. You have your photos and all other documented communication. Wrap the food tightly again, and wear a mask if you think you might inhale any spores or fumes while you dispose of it.
5.) If you are tired of throwing out your romaine lettuce, you might want to contact your elected officials to write mandatory compliance laws to provide food history information on all products that are produced or sold in our country. That would mean all food including food used by restaurants, hospitals, schools, etc. Help the FDA do a better job of protecting us.