James Cain of The Mirror reports a factory has been ordered to stop making food after it put uncooked sausages into pre-packed sandwiches.
Café Class Ltd has been served with a hygiene emergency prohibition order for food safety practices that posed an “immediate danger to human health”.
A court this week heard how the company extended the use-by dates of boiled eggs, cheddar cheese and streaky bacon, putting consumers’ health at risk.
The risk to the public was so severe that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) issued an immediate product recall on sandwiches, wraps and salads made by the company.
Listeria has been in the spotlight this year after six people died after getting listeria from prepackaged sandwiches and salads served in UK hospitals.
In the unrelated case the company, which traded with stores including Londis, Nisa and North East Convenience Stores, faced court as Middlesbrough Council sought an emergency hygiene order to prevent it from making food, reports the Local Demoracy Reporting service for Teesside Live .
Company directors Shahid Nawaz and Mohammed Haris Abdullah arrived at Teesside Magistrates’ Court yesterday to hear Middlesbrough Council lay out the case against their company.
Andrew Perriman, prosecuting for the council , told magistrates that Café Class, based in Riverside Park, was visited by environmental health officers on September 9.
The inspection was arranged “to assess compliance with a hygiene improvement notice served earlier in the year as a result of allergy management concerns”.
But Mr Perriman said the officers were shocked to discover the factory was routinely placing ingredients on their use-by date in sandwiches, wraps and salads which would then be labelled with a four-day use-by date.
“In respect of cooked ham aspect used in the final product, it is specified by the manufacturer to be used within three days once opened,” said Mr Perriman.
But the officers found that once opened, the ham had been placed in a plastic container on September 8 and labelled with a use-by date of September 11.
Mr Perriman said it could be argued that if September 8 is counted as day one, this actually meant the ham was being used for four days.
In any case, the factory would continue to use the ham as an ingredient right up until the final use-by day.
But Mr Perriman added: “It was then placed into a sandwich and given a further four-day use by date.
“Not only that, the packaging on the final product stated ‘once opened consume within 24 hours’.
He said this practice meant cooked ham with a use-by date of September 10 or 11 was actually being used in a product labelled with a use-by date of September 15 or 16.
“As a result, the three-day shelf life is exceeded by a further six days,” he said adding that this was “way past” safe limits.The company’s website says: “We here at Café Class carefully ensure that the standards of Food Agency are met at all times and any waste is disposed of appropriately.
“All our products are fully cooked but we do not send the food waste to landfill sites, thus helping the environment and fulfilling our responsibility towards the society.”