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More than 20 food items found for sale beyond expiry dates at Bridgend shop

A shop owner from Bridgend has been found guilty of selling food beyond their ‘use by’ dates, potentially causing harm to customers in the process.

December 13th, 2019

Officers visited Garth General Stores, 89 Bridgend Road, Maesteg in October 2018 and discovered a number of food items, includingCheese ploughmans sandwich ‘all day breakfast’ sandwiches and chicken tikka wraps, that had been placed for sale which were unsafe. They had passed their use by dates and were not of the nature, substance or quality which would be demanded by the purchaser. A pack of Balti curry slices was visibly mouldy. 

The case against the owner of the business, Mr Devendra Patel, was listed before Cardiff Magistrates Court on Friday 29th November 2019. Mr Patel pleaded guilty to 12 offences under the General Food Regulations 2004 and 1 offence under the Food Safety Act 1990. 

Mr Patel told the magistrates that he had been busy and he hadn’t been able to check the dates the night before the officers arrived. Crucially, during the visit by officers, there were no records of any date code checks having been made. Mr Patel told the court that he has now changed the way he does things to ensure that the dates are checked every day. The magistrates gave Mr Patel credit for his early guilty plea and recognised that he had made improvements. He was fined £50 for each offence giving a total fine of £650, was ordered to pay costs of £400 and a victim surcharge of £30.

A spokesperson for Shared Regulatory Services said:

“We are pleased that Mr Patel has now changed his methods to ensure he and his staff are checking expiry dates on food products. During the visit by Officers in 2018, they were informed by Mr Patel that staff would check expiry dates only when customers brought food to the checkout. Business are reminded that it is an offence under the General Food Regulations to expose for sale food items which have gone beyond their use by dates.

“Food that is highly perishable and therefore likely to pose a danger to human health after only a short time should never be sold to a consumer beyond its ‘use by’ date. Had any of Mr Patel’s customers purchased and eaten of a product such as a cheese sandwich that was beyond its ‘use by date’, it may have caused a severe illness, especially if the customer was a small child or a vulnerable adult.”

Businesses are advised to consider the following steps as good retail trading practice when selling highly perishable foods which carry ‘use by’ dates on packaging:

  • carry out date-marking checks on foods each morning before you open, or last thing at night after closing. Do not leave it to your suppliers to do this when they make their deliveries. Any offences committed for selling or offering to sell goods after the use-by date will be committed by the retailer regardless of whether you rely on the supplier to conduct the checks
  • remove foods marked with out of date use-by dates (place these in a container in a part of the premises not open to customers and clearly mark the container 'Not for sale')
  • consider reducing the price of food for quick sale before they go out of date