A charity in West Yorkshire which serves surplus to requirement supermarket food may now face prosecution for out-of-date produce.
The supermarket warehouse in Leeds offers locals the opportunity to “pay as you feel”, which means that people can pay as little (or nothing) as they want for food.
In a letter received by the project, West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTSS) said that it discovered 444 items past their use-by dates during an inspection in April.
The letter asked project founder Adam Smit to attend a “formal recorded interview under caution” to discuss the offences that may have been committed under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013.
Mr Smith said that The Real Junk Food Project had been providing “food unfit for human consumption” to the public since 2013 without complaint.
Of the interview he said:
We’ve fed over one million people worldwide with food that’s expired and still to this day no-one has ever been sick. So we can prove that we can make this food safe for human consumption.
“I’m quite positive about it. Just because it’s the law doesn’t make it right. We can prove that the food is safe for human consumption.”
Speaking to the BBC, David Strover from WYTSS said:
I am sure you will appreciate that WYTSS is unable to comment on the detail of an ongoing investigation except to say that the Proprietor of RJFP will be able to put forward information as part of that investigation process.
“That will help inform the decision on what, if any, action will be taken.”
Designed to reduce food waste while helping local people struggling to make ends meet, the decision to investigate the charity has been met with a considerable amount of anger across social media platforms.
— ⭕️ Pete Trainor (@petetrainor) June 6, 2017
Mr Smith now runs three “sharehouse” supermarkets across the country, partnered with 95 ‘pay as you feel’ cafes.