Maesteg trader fined for selling mouldy food

A Maesteg shop owner has pleaded guilty to selling more than 20 food items beyond their ‘use by’ dates.

When officers visited Garth General Stores in Maesteg, they discovered ‘all day breakfast’ sandwiches, chicken tikka wraps, curry slices and more which were on sale despite being out-of-date.

With some items displaying visible mould, all had passed their use-by dates and were not of sufficient nature, substance or quality.

Following the visit in October 2018, the case against business owner Devendra Patel was heard at Cardiff Magistrates Court on 29 November 2019. Mr Patel pleaded guilty to 12 offences under the General Food Regulations 2004 and one offence under the Food Safety Act 1990.

Mr Patel told the magistrates that he had been busy and hadn’t been able to check the dates the night before the officers arrived. However, officers could find no records of any date code checks having been made.

Magistrates recognised that the business had made improvements and fined him £50 for each offence – a total fine of £650 – and ordered him to pay costs of £400 plus a victim surcharge of £30.

Cllr Huw David, the Leader, said:

“I’m grateful to the officers of the Council’s Shared Regulatory Service for their work in ensuring that food is safe for consumption.

“Under the General Food Regulations, it is an offence to sell edible goods which have gone beyond their use-by dates, and consuming food which has gone off can have very serious health consequences, especially for vulnerable adults and children.

“Our Shared Regulatory Service will not hesitate to take action against any retailer who sells food beyond its use-by dates, and we urge all traders to implement recommended good practice to prevent this from happening.”

Businesses should consider the following steps 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 date-marking to your suppliers to complete.
  • Any offences committed for selling or offering to sell goods after the use-by date are considered to be committed by the retailer, not the supplier.
  • Always remove foods marked with expired 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 a quick sale before it goes out of date

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