18 May 2004
BRUSSELS – One in ten supermarkets in Belgium regularly sell milk products that are past their sell-by dates, a new study revealed on Tuesday.
The study was commissioned by some of Belgium’s biggest supermarket chains and carried out by Bares Associates, a firm that specialises in sending ‘mystery shoppers’ to check what is going on in stores.
The results did not make pleasant reading for the supermarket bosses.
Bares found that on average around one in ten milk products – for example yoghurts, crème fraiche or milk itself – on sale in Belgian supermarkets was past its sell-by date.
The mystery shoppers said the same was true for around three percent of ‘charcuterie’ meat products and five percent of other foods sold in supermarket delicatessen sections.
The investigation also discovered that around a quarter of refrigerated products sold in Belgian supermarkets have not been consistently stored at the right temperature.
Aside form the quality of food on offer, the mystery shoppers also found the design of many Belgian supermarkets leaves a lot to be desired.
Only one shop in two has adequate parking for disabled people for example, the survey found.
Belgium’s supermarket owners have pledged to clean up their act in the light of the findings.
Genevieve Bruynseels, spokeswoman for the Belgain arm of French supermarket giant Carrefour, told La Derniere Heure newspaper that her company already had tough food quality rules in place that see most products removed from store shelves four days before their sell-by dates.
“We want our customers to be able to buy with their eyes shut,” she said.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news