An investigation conducted by authorities in Westchester County, New York, found 21 stores in the area were selling out-of-date food, including outlets operated by Whole Foods Market, A&P, Pathmark and Stop & Shop.

The Department of Consumer Protection handed out fines totalling US$59,000 to retailers.

"We want to make sure that consumers get their money's worth when they shop for food - especially in these tough economic times," said county executive Andy Spano. 

"We'll continue cracking down on the sale of outdated items. It's not too much to ask that consumers be able to consistently find fresh, unexpired food on the shelves of their local grocery."

The stores with the worst results were Pathmark in Port Chester, owned by German retailer Tengelmann, with 271 outdated items and Whole Foods Market in White Plains with 156 expired products on the shelves.

Spano singled out for praise A&P in Armonk and Costco in New Rochelle, the only stores where no outdated items were found.

Of the 46 supermarkets and other food sellers throughout the county inspected, investigators found an average of 35 outdated items per store.