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28 February 2024

Buyer raises stink over expired supermarket food

The production date on this item is: Nov 17, 2014; Expiry date: Dec 14, 2014; Purchased/sold date: Dec 21, 2014. (Supplied)

By Sneha May Francis

A customer who recently shopped at a major UAE-based supermarket chain’s Dubai outlet was irked when he found that the food product he had bought was past its expiry date.

"I recently bought a dairy product from [the supermarket]. After reaching home, I realised that the product had expired a week ago which surprisingly [the supermarket] was still selling from their outlet," a resident (who did not wish to be named) informed Emirates 24|7.

"I was aware that consuming a product past its expiry date may possibly lead to food poisoning, so I immediately returned to the outlet and asked them to take the product off the shelf."

The supermarket did offer a verbal apology and a refund.

The customer went on to inform the Dubai Municipality about this lapse.

Officials from the civic body promptly investigated, surveyed the supermarket and imposed a fine.

Bobby Krishna, Principal Food Inspector at the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality, said a thorough review of the complaint is carried out before a penalty is issued.

"The fine could be anywhere between Dh200 and Dh25,000."

Bobby added that the team from the civic body checks whether it was a deliberate mistake, the risk factor, the history of previous complaints and the supermarket's food safety records, before deciding on the action/penalty.

A spokesperson from the supermarket confirmed the incident, and explained the error was corrected.

"Upon receiving the complaint, all products were checked to ensure no out of date items were on the shelf," said the communication manager at the chain.

"The customer was offered a refund."

She added that once a complaint was lodged, the supermarket chain conducted their own investigation. "As per our internal complaint handling procedure a file was opened and sent to head office and the relevant departments for follow-up."