I have always trusted the supermarkets when it comes to buying food, assuming that it is fresh when you purchase it but this article has made me think again. The BBC’s Whistleblower programme (to be screened tonight) sent some reporters undercover in branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s after an anonymous tip off from some members of staff.
What they uncovered makes for some distressing reading for the consumer. Staff at both Sainsbury’s and Tesco were found changing the sell by date on food, by simply deleting the old one and replacing it. I regularly use items when they have passed their sell by date but that’s because I know the dates are used mainly to cover the supermarkets, and that the items are fresh when I buy them, well at least I thought they were. One staff member even admitted to mixing batches of food, taking a few slices from a fresh batch and some from an older batch in order to resell it. In addition to this temperature checks on the fridges, which should be closely monitored, were regularly faked by staff, and surfaces and meat slicers were left uncleaned. To be fair the reporters were sent to just two branches of the supermarkets but these measures were mainly used in order to cut costs and seemed a part of normal working practices. It makes me wonder how widespread they are.