S4C investigation reveals Welsh supermarket chain illegally selling meat after use-by date
A Welsh supermarket chain has been caught selling meat and other fresh products as much as 13 days beyond the use-by date, in what has been described as an “atrocious case” and a risk to public health.
In an investigation for S4C’s Y Byd ar Bedwar programme, journalists found almost 50 items being sold or displayed past the use-by date at a number of CK Foodstores.
It is an offence for a business or store to sell any product past its use-by date and can lead to hospitalisation if consumed.
Companies risk being fined and could face up to two years in prison if they fail to follow this law.
Nearly half of the stores visited by a team of journalists were selling produce beyond its use-by date.
South and west Wales
CK Foodstores is a supermarket chain in south and west Wales and has more than 30 stores across the country.
The company has a partnership with the brand Nisa Local, which is why stores sometimes have the Nisa logo displayed, but CK Foodstores owns and operates the stores independently.
The investigation focused solely on CK Foodstores and there is no suggestion that Nisa Local has been selling out-of-date food.
CK Foodstores has a history of breaching food safety standards in the last 15 years.
Its latest conviction was in 2020 when the company was ordered to pay almost £30,000 for selling out-of-date food and displaying food deemed to be unsafe in two of its Swansea stores.
As part of the investigation which spanned almost a year, a team of journalists visited 24 stores on three different occasions. They found nearly half of the stores were selling produce beyond its use-by date.
On 20 June 2023, one journalist bought a piece of gammon with a use-by date of 7 June 2023 at a CK’s store in Penclawdd, Swansea.
Chicken drumsticks were also sold two days out-of-date at the St Clears store on 27 August 2022 . The chicken, which was being sold as part of a three for £5 deal, had a use-by label of 25 August.
🚨 GWERTHU CIG BRON I BYTHEFNOS HEIBIO’R DYDDIAD USE-BY 🚨
Mewn ymchwiliad arbennig, mae Y Byd ar Bedwar yn datgelu bod y busnes Cymreig, CK Foodstores, wedi torri’r gyfraith ar sawl achlysur
— Y Byd ar Bedwar (@YBydarBedwar) July 10, 2023
The team also bought a bag of gammon misshapes in the fridge of the Narberth store on the 19 June 2023 which were being sold 10 days out of date.
Y Byd ar Bedwar also found meat past its use-by date in Llandysul, St David’s, Cimla, Birchgrove, Brynhyfryd, Burry Port and Waunarlwydd.
The Food Standards Agency told the programme selling meat past its use-by date is an offence.
“A use-by date is about safety, it may smell and look ok, but you won’t you won’t necessarily see the bacteria that could potentially make you ill,” said Nathan Barnhouse, Director of the FSA.
“That could lead to hospitalisation if you’re elderly, young, or have an underlying health condition. And just because you may have eaten food past its use-by date in the past and been ok, you may not be so lucky in the future.
“It is an offence to sell something past its use-by date, and shops shouldn’t be doing this.”
Meirion Roberts from Aberystwyth University says the evidence gathered demonstrates a “risk to public health”.
“This is an atrocious case which is also a risk to public health”
“They’re breaking serious laws there,” said Mr Roberts, who also has eight years experience as a butcher.
“Meat is a high risk food category, so that’s why the use-by date is there to stop dangerous bacteria – which can survive the cooking process – from being there afterwards”.
He added: “If someone immunocompromised were to eat [the gammon 13 days past the use-by] for example, it would definitely have a big potential to cause great harm to some people, and essentially have the potential to kill.”
Christopher Kiley from Swansea is the owner and managing director of CK’s. Last year, according to public accounts, the company turnover was £68 million with a profit of almost £4 million.
ITV Wales and Y Byd ar Bedwar contacted the company and Mr Kiley on 26 June for a response to the programme’s findings.
The company agreed to an interview on three separate occasions, before eventually pulling out.
In a statement the company said: “CK’s values all of its customers and the communities in which it operates. In recognition of its commitment to its customers, CK will continue to monitor and improve on its policies and procedures to ensure that its customers continue to receive quality items at reasonable prices.”
CK’s did not respond to the allegations of selling products past the use-by date.
ITV Wales and Y Byd ar Bedwar also contacted all of the local authorities which have CK Foodstores in the area.
They agreed they would investigate accordingly after receiving evidence following the broadcast of the programme, apart from Ceredigion Council who said they do not comment on individual cases.
You can watch the full investigation on Y Byd ar Bedwar programme at 20:00, 10 July on S4C, S4C Clic, or iPlayer. The programme also has English subtitles.
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