Waitrose fined for selling out of date food at Sussex store

Waitrose, Haywards Heath
Waitrose, Haywards Heath

Supermarket chain Waitrose has been fined more than £33,000 for selling out-of-date food at its Haywards Heath store.

A court heard how a number of items - including smoked haddock, fish pies and chilli beef slices - were on sale past their use-by dates.

Waitrose pleaded guilty at Brighton Crown Court following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards.

A Trading Standards spokesman said that officers launched an investigation after finding 71 food items being sold past their use-by dates in October 2017.

However, he said, the judge was satisfied there was no risk to the public if they had bought and eaten the items.

In a statement today, trading standards said: “While mistakes were made by individual members of staff, the supermarket acknowledged that there was a lack of management oversight.

“Action has been taken by the supermarket since the incident to address this.”

Trading Standarts team manager Peter Aston added:: “While no members of the public were harmed on this occasion, it is vital that shops have robust systems in place to prevent the sale of out of date food.

“Unlike ‘best before’ dates, it is an offence to sell or display items past the indicated use-by date as they are highly perishable.

“I hope this fine, which was significantly reduced due to a guilty plea will prompt other supermarkets to ensure they have correct systems in place to protect customers.”

Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for safer communities, said: “Customers trust reputable brands to sell food that is safe to eat.

“While mistakes obviously do happen, I hope this will act as a wake-up call to this supermarket to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again.”

Waitrose was ordered to pay a total of £36,784 which included costs of £3,264 and a victim surcharge of £170.