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Swedish shops 're-label and sell' old food: report

Swedish shops 're-label and sell' old food: report

Published: 19 Jun 2012 08:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 19 Jun 2012 08:40 GMT+02:00

“The same cheese can be given a new date label several times over,” one employee for supermarket chain Ica told the paper.

And when the paper looked through reports from inspectors from 23 municipalities across Sweden, they found many instances where customers have fallen ill due to eating old food.

One family experienced trouble after their baby fell ill when the infant formula purchased in one shop turned out to be old and had gone bad. In another shop the meat grinder was in such poor shape that inspectors had to put a ban on the establishment using it.

In total, the paper found that 70 municipalities had received warnings about the quality of the food sold in local shops.

The anonymous Ica supermarket employee in Stockholm told Aftonbladet that cheeses sold in the shop often have been re-labelled and that customers are being fooled by fake sell-by-date labels.

“I can only agree and admit that we have acted wrongly,” the shop worker told the paper.

She added that the cheeses are re-labelled on a regular basis, unbeknownst to the customers of the shop.

“This is how it is done. Packed cheeses are taken out of the store room when they are needed and get that day’s date as packing date,” the employee told the paper.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say that some of the blue cheeses are a bit whiffy by then.”

And according to agency inspector Louise Nyholm of the National Food Board (Livsmedelsverket) it could be a criminal offence to re-label food with a different packing date.

“Adding a packing-date to the label is currently voluntary for the shops but if they do choose to add it, then that ought to be the actual packing date, “ she said to the paper.

TT/The Local/rm

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Your comments about this article

09:26 June 19, 2012 by eurobloke
A grauniad mistake, "In another shop the meat grinder was in such more shape that inspectors had to put a ban on the establishment using it."

I persume it means "In another shop the meat grinder was in such bad shape, that inspectors had to put a ban on the establishment using it."
09:53 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
I see NO problemo here IF the crap is sold in malmo !
10:00 June 19, 2012 by WelshSwede
There is a problem in general with quality checks in this country, I've lost count how many times Ive checked the food from the shelf before putting it in the basket that the vegetables or fruit are either moldy or in a bad state.
10:07 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Unsuspecting ?? No problemo in malmo they are all "suspects" !!
10:22 June 19, 2012 by fakeempire
It's because shops and big companies don't have anything to lose here! In the States you can sue the big grocery store for food poisoning if you manage to generate enough proof (get testing done on the item purchased at the time, etc...), but here they get a slap on the wrist and wont get closed down until at least 10 offenses. It is ridiculous.
10:29 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
IDEA (re:the need to nuke malmo) I propose a rumor that 50m under MALMO there is GOLD and wham-o your immigrants will create a nuke-like crater of malmo Problem fixed !!
10:55 June 19, 2012 by Jes
YES , this is true . My brother`s son told me that when he was working as an intern in one of the largest food stores in Sweden he was assigned with the job of removing expired date tags and placing new ones on cold foods . He particularly named CHEESE . He informed us that every morning , the man in charge of food departiment called other stores to set same prices for most food items.

Food wastage is something else reporters should investigate . I have never understood why mangoes and other tropical foods are left to rot just because they are so over-priced that not many people dare buy them.

I suggest that the authorities should demand that all big stores submitt a report of how much of their foods are thrown away - and for what reasons.
10:56 June 19, 2012 by escalation666
Food stores are playing Russian roulette with our lives and the government should impose not a fine but a close down of the store for a set amount of time, this will make them think ahead of the business lost due to a forced shutdown of their establishment. This re label and sell date is a crime and should be dealt with severe consequences.
11:04 June 19, 2012 by djmarko
whats the obsession with Malmo?? sure there thousands of Swedes that live in other countries and are treated nicely!!! what has this article got to do with immigration, some people are truly sick!!! go get help quickly!!
11:16 June 19, 2012 by BackpackerKev
"it could be a criminal offence" - get this girl fired.

the fact is it a criminal offence. It is fraud.

It may be optional to include a packing date, but EU regulations state the label MUST INCLUDE: the date of minimum durability or, in the case of foodstuffs which, from the microbiological point of view, are highly perishable, the 'use by' date.

any alteration or in this case relabelling is fraud plain and simple.
11:22 June 19, 2012 by foxpur
@BackpackerKev,

The girl making the report is NOT the problem... she's aiding stopping it. It is those that have asked her to DO the action that are the ones that need arrested.
11:28 June 19, 2012 by skogsbo
if they are changing the 'sell by' date, that is only advisory, most people read it in the same context as 'use' or 'consume', which is different.

If everyone is so unhappy with what they get in store X, go to store Y, buy from smaller shops or markets, where the person serving you is probably also the owner.

Price fixing, of course it happens, that's how multi nationals make so much money, buy cheap, sell high, plus with volume.
11:31 June 19, 2012 by JulieLou40
This is why we only buy commercially pre-packed meats and cheeses (not store packed).
11:32 June 19, 2012 by yunsha
For the safety of the society and the respect to human's lives, the owners of the stores who re-labled the old food must be sued in the court and sentenced.The profits earned from the criminal offence must be confiscate, in order to make a serious warning in the commercial field and create a clean and safe enviroment for the customers.

Ica must make a sincere apology to the customers formally.
11:41 June 19, 2012 by BackpackerKev
@foxpur

One thing i don't like is people not knowing the law relevant to their job. I know its fraud, many people know its fraud, but she seems like she's sitting on the fence unable to commit to knowing what is and what isn't by definition a criminal offence. When it comes to food safety you cannot have these people debating or merely "mulling" over while more people become sick. Sometimes i wish these people would take as much action as Car park inspectors. One minute over your paid time and they are right by your car with a ticket. There is however laws allowing the sale of items over their sell by date, but the relabelling/amendment of an item IS a criminal offence. she should know this.
11:47 June 19, 2012 by johan rebel
If you can see, smell and taste, you can determine whether the foodstuffs you buy are edible. Who needs "best before" labels? Swedes do, because they put all their trust in the nanny state, not their own instincts or this phenomenon called common sense. Funnily enough, there is even a term for this in Swedish: sunt förnuft. Pity nobody uses it.

I wonder how much perfectly edible food gets thrown away in this country for no good reason by a hysterical and ignorant population?

I've recently consumed various products with "best before" dates somewhere in 2011, and I have lots more in my pantry. I plan to eat all of them sometime in the foreseeable future, though not necessarily this year.
11:56 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Go away @johan rebel this NOT a forum for "reason" PS: that you in the Gervalia ads tooting their nationalism ?? Biggest question whose is to protect sweedies from themselves ??
12:11 June 19, 2012 by tranel
This kind of relabeling of food of course never happens in the English-speaking world... or anywhere else for that matter. Sweden is truly a hellhole.
12:14 June 19, 2012 by EtoileBrilliant
The problem isn't the shops, it's the customers and their Swedishness. My wife thinks it her civic duty to take milk with the nearest sell by date and scolds me for rummaging around the back of the fridge for the later dates.

I remember pointing out to a Konsum employee a whole load of salmon pate that was beyond their sell by date. No apology, just a shrug.

Compare this to MacDonalds where I took the children last night. They were taking their time with the Happy Meals so I told them they were losing the plot. Two minutes later, free ice creams and coffee for all of us. That's what I call customer service.
13:13 June 19, 2012 by Svensksmith
Grocery stores should create a secondary market and sell old pfoduce to pig farmers.
13:40 June 19, 2012 by fakeempire
@johan rebel, yes because I can just open a can of meat in a can and sniff it in the shop before I buy it. The expiration label says 1999, but I am sure it is still good, right??
13:55 June 19, 2012 by Trey
Be aware of nya pulsen fleminsberg
14:27 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
OLLY ? (please investigate this) Just WHO told the sweedies what they could do with themselves and since then "THEY HAVE BEEN" !!
14:42 June 19, 2012 by Youdee
I don't understand the fuss about cheese. I grew up on a dairy farm. Mom taught us to just cut away the mold. We never got sick.
15:05 June 19, 2012 by JulieLou40
#24: Well then, your mom should have known better. It is a well-known fact to the un-ignorant amongst us, the when cheese is mouldy, the spores travel through the rest of the cheese very rapidly, without necessarily showing up as green mould straight away.

It's a miracle you never got sick, not the fact that your mother was right....
15:16 June 19, 2012 by Youdee
#25 Refer to

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01024

and

http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/05/is-it-safe-to-eat-moldy-bread-or-moldy-cheese/

"With hard cheeses, the mold has trouble penetrating deeply into the cheese. As such, you can cut an inch of cheese off of each side and discard the moldy slices and it should be safe to eat (note: just scraping the visible mold off isn't good enough, you must cut deeply in, to make sure you're getting rid of the runners)."
15:42 June 19, 2012 by just do it
Same happened to me in ICA Norrkoping - Inglesta
15:53 June 19, 2012 by gpafledthis
Just refer the whole issue to the DUTCH (that nation of cheese parers) !
16:33 June 19, 2012 by Rishonim
People eat the food they deserve. In this country people are not used to complaining and they believe big brother has the answer to everything. I think I am the only person in Sweden to return crappy items I purchase at the supermarket. Avocados, tomatoes, funky meat. Also, I hate to pay to advertise supermarket shopping bags. At most supermarket they charge 1 to 2 kronor for a bag with their name and logo on it. As a consumer, they should pay me to advertise their brand and not the other way around. dont pay for supermarket shopping bags...
17:26 June 19, 2012 by sergisr
Swedes are so affected...! A cheese that doesn't stink is not a cheese. The more stinky, more delicious. :-)'''
17:43 June 19, 2012 by cogito
@Rishonim (#26)

Rather than speak up, Swedes mumble and grumble to themselves. They've been trained never to complain.

Until they learn to complain about paying swinish prices for pigswill nothing will change.
00:32 June 20, 2012 by Bigd
Food quality here is pretty darn poor….punkt slut!

Its probably fair to say its because of less competitors than say in UK!

They can therefore afford to flout the law and fool/trick/deceive their customers.

I dont have a car and as such have only a handful of large stores to which I have close access (ICA, LIDL, Netto and Willys). If I take a bus I can go to CityGross (never have and Konsum - no thanks)

I find ICA and Konsum to be the worst (talking over a period of 12 yrs of shopping)

Thankgod Lidl and Netto have branched out in the last 5 yrs to add more competition and they are close to me, but then again they are lacking in variety and choice so I often have to go to ICA anyhow.

I have many times taken back old, mouldly or pointed out out of date food!

I feel I should not have to scrutinise every sell/use/best before by date when I pick up smtg in -store. Especially when it comes to Dairy products I expect them to be fresh and have some shelf life in them (depends on product I know)

Konsum is the worst offender. I purchased some frozen garlic bread once. When I opened it a few days later it was moudly. No I dont mean a bit of green spores around the edges…this thing once defrosted litterally popped into a puff of spores. It was a surprise I didnt get a lung infection. I went back absolutely f**kg furious! They were a bit shocked I have to say and ofc offered me my refund….but no more!

2nd event with Konsum - bought frozen burgers, later (after cooking and thy looked like sh*t) I looked at box. They were 8 MONTHS out of date! I again took them back but this time went first to konsumentsverket i Lund - who to my horror showed disinterest!!! I went in store to complain and asked for manager. He was on fika. They made me wait 15mins. This infuriated me more! So, while I was waiting I went around the store and checked a few products. I found about 5 items of meat/dairy expired by a few days! When I got to speak to him and complained he said sorry, thats bad but this is a one-off I can assure you. I told him b*ll*cks (in a nicer tone) and what I had just seen walking around. He ushered some staff to clear those shelves and looked more worried by my stance! In short i asked for compensation (he only offered to refund my bill) and walked out of there with 1000kr in cash compensation as I was livid by his attitude! He couldnt wait to get me out of that store as I was not discreet in my complaint either and made sure other shoppers were aware I was complaining! In short stand yr ground, complain and let them know this IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!!!!
08:58 June 20, 2012 by muscle
@JulieLou40 :

i am surprised you even bothered to comment for #24. Based on this person's comments which are irrelevant, don't bother wasting your time replying to such people.
10:09 June 20, 2012 by gpafledthis
Ah sweedie values !! The absolut winner in reader interest is "fromage" and the issue is "to stink or not to stink" the place is turning into a genetic cesspool DARWIN loose the wolves to rid this society of the/sick/stupid/lame etc. I await global warming/swedes get more mosquitos/moose go mad/chase sweedies into Baltic !! that gd end of times by moose !!
13:02 June 21, 2012 by cogito
@Bigd (32)

Konsum is by far the worst. The press seldom exposes them because, having been a part of the Social Democrat power structure, Konsum is a sacred cow.

But apart from (German) Lidl, all food shopping in Sweden is tear-making.
21:34 June 21, 2012 by Radhus
This nothing new. Barely anything in Swedish supermarkets is fresh. Not many countries in the world where you buy so many fruit/veges wrapped in plastic. I buy most of my veges frozen, it's the best way and often cheaper.

Regarding the repackaging and reselling of food, this is okay as long as it's still edible and meets the standards for being so. However, it should NOT be sold at full price. As with other countries, it should be sold much cheaper. But Swedes are so money hungry, there's no way they would sell something old for cheaper.
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