Brought upon by Birmingham City Council (BCC) under the food safety and hygiene regulations 2013, the prosecution followed inspections at the group’s Bournville, Rubery, and Birmingham city centre operations.
Between 17 June 2015 and 2 June 2017, items including but not limited to own-brand pizza, soup, pork belly slices, flavoured milk, chicken, grapes and strawberries were found to be displayed past their use by dates.
One case on 12 April 2016 saw items at Tesco’s Bournville site displayed while out of date for between one and 17 days.
In turn, Tesco admitted to a total of 22 offences, totalling 67 separate items, in front of Birmingham Magistrates Court on 21 September 2020.
The supermarket chain was subsequently ordered to pay a fine of £7.56m, with £95,500 in costs and a £170 victim surcharge on 19 April 2021.
Mark Croxford, head of environmental health for the BCC, said: “The purpose of the use-by date is to protect the health of the consumer. The manufacturers put the date on their products to guarantee the food is safe and ignoring this date completely undermines consumer safety.
“There were numerous missed opportunities to check the dates on these products and remove them from display – and the fact incidents were found on several occasions, in different stores and over 14 months, was a major concern.”
He added that the case “offers a warning to all retailers to ensure their stock is in date” as action will be taken if not.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We’re disappointed that a small number of out of date products were found on sale in three stores in 2016/17.
“The safety of our customers is always our priority and these incidents are not representative of the high standards of safety and quality we expect in Tesco stores.”
They added: “We took immediate action to address this at the time and we want to reassure our customers that we have robust procedures in place to make sure that this doesn’t happen.”