Investigation launched over whether out of date juice caused allergic reaction (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Darlington family claim says juice sold by Asda almost a year past its best was responsible for allergic reaction
INVESTIGATIONS have been launched to establish whether juice sold by Asda that was almost a year past its best was responsible for a customer’s allergic reaction.
Lisa Mullen bought the Great Stuff orange and pineapple juice from the store on Whinbush Way, Darlington - but within hours of her 20-year-old daughter Kathryn Lowe drinking it, her lips became swollen and blistered.
Miss Lowe ended up in hospital due to the severity of the reaction and the family is convinced out of date juice was to blame.
Ms Mullen, of Darlington, said she would never have bought it if she had realised it was nine months past its best before date and she is angry at the store for selling it with no indication that it was old stock.
“We've drunk that juice plenty of times before with no problems," she said.
"These cartons were just on a normal shelf, they were full price and there was no reduction sticker or any indication they were out of date.
“I’ve bought reduced stuff before, but it’s clearly marked and usually never more than a day or two old.
“We couldn’t believe it when we checked the cartons afterwards and realised that the best before date on one was October 2012 and the other November 2012.
“Surely it can’t be right to have things on the shelves that are almost a year out of date?”
Ms Mullen said that she felt “fobbed off” by the store manager whom she says offered her £40 but no apology when she complained about the juice.
“It isn’t about money, they just didn’t seem bothered about what had happened at all,” said Ms Mullen, who added that when she returned to the store all the cartons had been removed from the shelves.
She reported the store to environmental health and a spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council confirmed that an officer had visited the premises.
The spokeswoman added: “Although the best before date has passed, Asda has not committed any offence under food safety legislation.
“We understand that Asda will be writing to the lady concerned to apologise to her and that they are conducting their own investigations into the incident.
“We will receive a copy of this in due course.
“They have also cleared the shelves of the juice.
“We have received no other complaints on this matter.”
An Asda spokesman said the company could not comment fully until it had carried out its own lab tests on the juice.
He added: “We are certainly investigating the matter and offered an apology at the store.”
- What is the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates?
Best Before: The 'best before' dates are more about quality than safety. When the date runs out it doesn't mean that the food will be harmful, but it might begin to lose its flavour and texture.
Use By: You will see 'use by' dates on food that goes off quickly, such as meat products and ready-prepared salads. Food or drink that has passed its 'use by' date should not be consumed, even if it looks and smells fine, because once it has passed this date there is a chance it could be poisonous.
What the law says: It is an offence to sell food after the ‘use by’ date. Retailers can however sell products after the ‘best before’ date provided the product still complies with the General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002. These prohibit the sale of food which is not of the nature, substance or quality demanded by the purchaser, or to sell food which does not meet food safety requirements.
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