Salvage grocery stores, aka “bent ‘n’ dent” shops, are common in Amish communities.

amish grocery salvage store

An Amish salvage grocery, aka “bent n dent” store

They’re popular among Amish with many mouths to feed, and English bargain hunters as well.  I’ve bought from them a number of times (hot sauce and other goodies).

I just came across a 2008 article on Amish salvage stores (no longer online).  By the author’s tone, she seems to want to cast suspicion on these businesses, describing them as a “shadow economy”.  When I read that, I saw shades of February’s “Amish raw milk smuggler” story…sinister!

But it’s an interesting piece.  One fact I learned:

Except for baby formula, the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t prohibit the sale of expired foods or medicine. The agency bars the sale of adulterated or misbranded drugs, but those are evaluated case by case.

Everything else is fair game – “buyer beware,” as B&K Salvage owner Bill Gingerich puts it.

Hmm…maybe the writer has a point here.  “Buyer beware” I can accept when I’m shopping used cars.  But food and drugs?  Takes on a more ominous tone, don’t you think?

But here’s the deal.  If I think about it long enough, I realize I routinely eat foods that are past their expiration date (okay, not month-old cottage cheese, but things that obviously aren’t spoiled).  I also take past-date medicine–in fact I took year-gone stomach remedy the other day (come to think of it, maybe these two facts are linked).

I’m still ticking.  But…is this safe?

And-do you buy from salvage stores (Amish or otherwise)?  What’s a good buy at bent ‘n’ dents?

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