During the last month a food business was fined $7500 for selling food past it’s use by date in South Australia. The business was a well known supermarket which says that the issue occurred because of human error and that all staff have been retrained.
The judge could have placed a fine of up to $250 000 for the breach to the Food Standards Code, but ruled that as there were no ill effects from the consumption of the goods and the public negativity to the situation would be a significant penalty on it’s own . No conviction was recorded.
It is Standard 1.2.5 of the Australian and New Zealand Food Standards Code that states the following for labelled goods;
1.Foods must include a Use-by date where the food should be consumed before a certain date because of health or safety reasons. This indicates the date from which the food is unsafe to consume, usually in circumstances where the food becomes microbiologically unsafe for consumption before it is discernibly spoiled.
2.In circumstances where this does not apply, a Best Before date must be used. The Best Before Date simply indicates that the product may have lost some of its quality after this date passes.
All food businesses must ensure that all staff have a good understanding of the principles and practice of FIFO – first in first out – at all stages in the food process.
If followed properly, FIFO will ensure that product past it’s use by date is not on shelves for sale or use.