21 Apr 2021
On Monday 19th of April 2021, at Birmingham Magistrates Court, a huge £7.56 million fine for Tesco was issued and they were also ordered to pay £95,500 in prosecution costs and a £170 victim charge. This was due to selling out of date food at three of its’ Birmingham stores.
The offences date back to 17th June 2015, when an Environmental Health Officer from Birmingham City Council visited a Tesco store following a customer compliant. Tesco pleaded guilty to a total of 22 offences relating to 67 separate food items past their ‘use by’ date found at three separate stores, in breach of the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013. The out-of-date food included grapes, potato salad, pizzas, pasties, strawberry flavoured milk, own-brand scotch eggs, Quiche Lorraine,and pork belly slices.
The huge £7.56 million fine for Tesco, is a record fine for food safety offences. It reflects the significant number of offences at three separate stores over a two-year period, as well as the company’s turnover of over £50 billion.
What’s the difference between a ‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ date?
This relates to the safety of food and is applied to foods such as meat, dairy, fish and eggs as they carry higher risk of causing harm if eaten after that date.
This indicates the food quality so it is applied to lower risk food products such as pasta, vegetables and tinned products. While these may not be appetising to consume after the best-before date, they are unlikely to harm you.
Like many other multiple food retailers, Tesco faces logistical challenges of ensuring that their food safety procedures are implemented consistently across a very large number of stores. However, Sentinel has over 20 years of experience in advising food businesses to comply with food safety legislation, including effective ‘due diligence’ systems. We also undertake auditing of retail outlets across the UK to monitor food hygiene and safety standards to assist clients to comply with their legal obligations.