Supermarkets selling out of date food

AS shoppers descend in their droves on Suffolk supermarkets to stock up for Christmas, the Evening Star can today reveal the shocking danger lurking on the shelves of big name brands.

AS shoppers descend in their droves on Suffolk supermarkets to stock up for Christmas, the Evening Star can today reveal the shocking danger lurking on the shelves of big name brands.

Undercover Trading Standards officers have discovered that five out of six supermarkets in Suffolk are selling dangerously out-of-date-food.

Hardly any store in the county was exempt from their scrutiny over the past few months, during a mixture of random undercover surveys and announced visits which revealed dozens of danger foods.

Trading Standards bosses are disgusted at the extent of the problem, after only a very few stores escaped with a clean bill of health.


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More than 50 food items were found to be past their 'use-by' date, as well as their 'display until' date, at a total of 11 supermarkets in towns including Ipswich.

The worst examples included pineapple chunks which were starting to ferment in their packet, and chicken drumsticks.

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A spokesperson for Trading Standards said: "Out of date food like meat, dairy products and salads, can contain deadly bacteria like salmonella, listeria, and e-coli.

"Stores which have been identified as selling out-of-date products have been issued with written warnings, and several managers have been glad to have the matter brought to their attention, and are looking at ways to improve their stock procedures.

"We would also ask the public to check labels on food they are buying, to ensure the safety of those who will consume the products."

The shock survey is also due to be discussed by Suffolk County Council at a meeting next week.

Council deputy leader Peter Monk said: "It is very disappointing. We place a lot of trust in our supermarkets and we all use them.

"They have got all the technology there for restocking, but for some reason their foods have gone past their sell by date and are left on the shelves with no mechanism to pick this up at the checkout.

"The food can cause problems for people such as upset tummies and the other thing is that people are buying things that they trust are correct and can be eaten safely."

A spokeswoman for Asda she was not aware of any problems in its stores and added: "We have very detailed systems and procedures in-store to minimise the possibility of the sale of out-of-code products.

"All stock is checked each day to identify any items nearing the end of shelf life in order that they can be reduced in price and removed from sale at the appropriate time. We also have a system of back-up checks and audits in-store."

A spokesman for Tesco said: "As our shelves are restocked they are continually checked. The codes are checked all the time by the staff. Any food that is coming close to its use by date is reduced for a quick sale.

"We do have distribution systems in place which reduce waste. The shelves are continuously replenished so we do not hold a great deal of stock in the stores.

"There are very few incidents of customers buying out-of-date food. When you put it in context we serve about 13 million customers a week and only a handful of complaints come through to us."

A spokeswoman for Sainsburys said she could not comment without the details of specific cases.

N Have you brought out of date food from a supermarket? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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