True enough for some kinds of items. Salt doesn't really expire, for instance; sugar doesn't really go off. Items with oil like nuts and whole-grain flours certainly DO go rancid, and very easily in this climate. We've encountered numerous instances of items that had NOT expired but were already rancid, and had to return them. It's unfortunate that the laws aren't able to deal with the subtleties of the matter.
Companies should heavily discount items as exp. dates approach, rather than selling them after the date.