On the 4th of September 2023, at Leeds Magistrates Court, Aamir Masood, who operates BK Stores in Harehills, received a fine of £3,840. Additionally, he was directed to contribute £1,888.02 towards the prosecution costs and a £1,536 victim surcharge. These penalties followed Mr. Masood’s admission of guilt in relation to violations under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations of 2013.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards officers conducted a routine inspection at BK Stores, located at 78 Harehills Road in Leeds, on the 30th of November 2022. During this inspection, they discovered 47 food items that had exceeded their use-by dates.
These food items collectively had surpassed their use-by dates by a total of 2,772 days. The items included five packs of sliced chicken, each 104 days past the use-by date; an additional nine packs of sliced chicken, each 90 days past the use-by date; three packs of sliced beef, each 97 days past the use-by date; four packs of turkey rashers, each 90 days past the use-by date; and five packs of sliced turkey, each 83 days past the use-by date.
In response to a cautionary interview letter from Trading Standards, Mr. Masood stated that his suppliers had failed to replace his expired food items, and date code checks were conducted once a week.
David Strover, Trading Standards Manager – Business Services Team said “Businesses must ensure that they undertake regular date checks on items bearing use by dates, they must invest in appropriate staff training and recording methods to ensure these checks are performed. It is the responsibility of food retailers to ensure such checks take place. Use by dates are placed on foods that are highly perishable from a microbiological view and are therefore likely, after a short period, to constitute an immediate danger to human health. Trading Standards will continue to take action against any businesses flouting the law.”
Councillor Pauleen Grahame, Member of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said, “The work of Trading Standards plays an important role in Food Standards. Food past the use-by date cannot lawfully be sold, and retailers should make checks to ensure they do not offer for sale out-of-date food that is marked with a use-by date. In this case, the items were significantly out of date and clearly should not have been offered for sale by the food business operator.”
Consumers can report the sale of out-of-date “use by” foods to Trading Standards, by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.