Tesco revise court evidence in food case

A senior official from Tesco Ireland returned to a District Court last week to correct a statement made by one of it store manager’s given in evidence.

A senior official from Tesco Ireland returned to a District Court last week to correct a statement made by one of it store manager’s given in evidence.

At a  hearing in Kilcock District Court on 17 April, Tesco agreed to pay E12,000 to local charities after it pleaded guilty to breaching food hygiene regulations at its Maynooth store.

Health Services Executive inspectors found that  the temperature in a stand alone freezer was too low after investigating the matter following a complaint about rotten chicken by a female customer.

During the April,  a store manager, said that stand alone fridges were no longer used in the store.

The matter was adjourned to to enable Tesco to pay the money to charity in avoid a conviction.

When the matter of the payment was raised at the 19 June sitting, Cian Hanahoe,  solicitor representing Tesco, said he wanted to raise a matter in relation to evidence given at the previous hearing.

He said it appeared a slight mistake was made in sworn evidence and he wanted to clarify the issue if the Court saw fit.

Recalling the case, Judge Zaidan, included in his comment that all fridges and freezers were now connected to a central alarm system, which would tell the store if the temperature fell below the required level.

Mark Gannon, a Tesco  official based at the company’s Irish headquarters in Dun Laoghaire, said it was not the case, as had been stated in evidence by the Maynooth store manager, that  all freezers were now linked to a central system.

But, he said, this was not correct as there were eight units in the Maynooth store which were stand alone.

These are not connected to the central system but are managed differently now.

Mr Gannon said there was a network for this secondary group.

Asked by Judge Zaidan how  Tesco could re assure the public, Mr. Gannon said they had a back up system and checks were made on each freezer three times a day.

Mr Gannon said this system was fool proof and was what they did in other stores.

Judge Zaidan said three check a day in the 24 hour store mean one every eight hours and questioned if a check made at the start of an eight hour period would be sufficient if there was a break down before the next check.

Mr Gannon said the system met industry standards but Judge Zaidan said Tesco did not necessarily have to follow industry standards.

Judge Zaidan said if something went wrong with food it would not be good for business. You must devise something which is as safe as possible, he said.

He then said it was a credit to Tesco that the company came back to the Court to clarify the evidence.