A partially sighted 91 year old senior citizen brought the Sokolow brand 'Roasted & Dried Sausage' 300g from Sainsbury's at lunch time on Friday 8 October. At home, when the plastic wrapping was being removed from the pre-cooked ready-to-eat sausage, the USE-BY DATE of 01.10.10 was discovered. A concerned relative stopped the elderly lady and her husband eating the sausage.
The following day, Saturday 9 October, Paul Janik an experienced Slough Party investigator visited the Sainsbury's store and made a test purchase of 4 randomly chosen sausages. In the store the USE-BY dates were checked and discovered to be 01.10.10 on three of the sausages and 21.08.10 on the other sausage. The items were purchased (1) to prevent unsuspecting members of the public endangering their health by eating the out-of-date food, (2) to preserve evidence of Sainsbury's exposing customers to health risks and (3) to prevent the evidence disappearing if complaints were made by other shoppers. Before leaving the store, the expired USE-BY dates were brought to the attention of supervisory staff but they did not react.
Two days later, on Monday 11 October, the store manager Ian Mathison was telephoned and given details of the unfit out-of-date food being sold in his store. Mr Mathison apologised on behalf of Sainsbury's.
More than 6 hours later a second test purchase of the same type of Polish sausage was made. Two more out-of-date sausages 10 days past their USE-BY date were purchased. A formal complaint was immediately made to the store's acting manager. After examining the items with a USE-BY date of 01.10.10, the acting store manager said it could be dangerous to health if the paid-for goods were taken out of the store.
Keen to retain the evidence - sausages and receipt - community champion Paul Janik took the items away for safe keeping. The matter has now been passed to Trading Standards to investigate.
Mr Janik told The Slough Times "I do not know how wide-spread the problem is. It is a shame that a respected supermarket like Sainsbury's has fallen below the high standards expected by shoppers. It may be due to the recent cuts in staff numbers and working times. I hope this incident will encourage the store to take much greater care about food safety."