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I can tell you what the larger food companies do with the food that is returned and all of these (Hills, Purina, Royal Canin, and Iams/Eukanuba) have essentially the same policy.
Hills requires all food returned to us (a vet clinic) be returned to them--it all goes back to the closest manufacturing facility for testing).
Purina requires that the food be returned to the vendor from which it was purchased (our vendor just writes it off and doesn't return it to Purina but if you are buying directly from Purina they require, as does Hills that all returned food be returned to the nearest manufacturing facility for testing.)
Royal Canin requires that any food we are asking for credit on we must report it what it is, product number and expiration date--additionally if we are returning food because they sent the wrong food that it be returned at least two months before the expiration date. They then issue a credit to us and most of the time tell us we can donate it to a local shelter (Multnomah County for us) On one occasion--in the last 16 years--they told us to destroy the kibble--suggested that we dump it into a container of used kitty litter because their lab suspected that there had been a contaminate in that batch.
Iam/Eukanuba which we don't carry at all any more had the same requirements as Hills.
As far as what happens to the food returned by a client. We give them a credit or a new bag of food--the return can be for any reason--they get their money's worth and we'll eventually get credit (except for Royal Canin if it was past expiration date).
Our cat and dog foods are NEVER even close to expiration. We order from Hills, Royal Canin and Purina weekly. We check the expiration dates on food and meds when they come in and with the food, new food is stocked in the back of that row of food. Older food in the front. It is rotated as new food comes in. Most of our food never gets even close to expiration dates. On slower moving items we rely on the person who orders the food (in our case it's me and I've worked in places that sold stuff with expiration dates since 1972) to make sure that all of the foods are no closer than 6 month from the best buy dates.
WHEN CHECKING EXPIRATIONS DATES: Everything on our food shelves is at least 6 months from expiration and practically all of it is dated for 2020 and 2021--we would have returned anything that was dated September of this year. Anything dated 2019 should be at least November or December.
When you buy dog food (or cat food) I suggest you buy from big places with fast turn over--they are also the ones that never question you about why you are returning food. We ask "why" only because Hills and Purina in particular want to know if they are getting back a lot of food in the same batch because the pet won't eat it. They may then asked vendors to return anything from that manufacture date.
Cats are much more particular than dogs and regularly turn their noses up at food they've been eating for years or at a food the vet wants them to have but they've never eaten before.
Make sure that the food you sent your kid or husband to get is really the right stuff--I read the white grain like flecks in the ProPlan Salmon, Lady Di, and the first thing I wondered was if DH had picked up a bag of the shredded blend (which has a similar bag but isn't the same as the regular ProPlan Focus--the shredded blend has small bits of a highly flavored soy based stuff that is light in color). But it sounds more like you got a bag that was growing mold--which stinks.
I was also told to either store the food in a bag in a hard container or to make sure I was scrubbing out the hard contained between bags of food. My hard container is big enough to hold 40 pounds of kibble--loose and since the bags are now 30 pound bags I can probably get the bag into the hard container. I used to use a plastic garbage can until the place I was living had a plague of field rats and mice that invaded our neighborhood when they shut a whole section of stables down near Portland Meadows (the racetrack) and dislodged a whole populations group--that was how I learned that plastic garbage cans can be chewed open by rats (and then the mice can get into them too)--and that was when I changed to a REAL hard heavy walled container--but I also moved from the place that was practically in the race tracks stables back yard.
Royal Canin also packs their kibble in vacuum sealed bags.