“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.