John worked in quality control at an abattoir and factory dealing mainly with pork. John was concerned that the abattoir was changing kill dates on the meat in order to give it a longer shelf life. This meat was then being sent to large supermarkets nationally with the wrong sell-by and use-by dates. John was particularly concerned when he realised that one kill date had been changed by up to 9 days. John knew that government regulations require all pork to be eaten within ten days of the kill date and this meat would be unsafe if sold to consumers. John had tried to speak to his manager but he had been told to mind his own business. John was unsure who at the top of the company knew about this but thought that the owners would also be aware of this practice. Although John knew other staff were worried, no one wanted to speak up.
What we advised
We advised John that given the immediate risk we could contact the supermarket directly and give them the batch number and date it was sent out. This way they could ensure the meat would never reach the supermarket shelves. We said we could also let the industry regulator, the Food Standards Agency (FSA), know about the issue. John agreed and we contacted the supermarket and the FSA.
The next day the abattoir was told their contract with the supermarket had been put on red alert. As a result,the practice of changing the kill dates stopped.