A SUPERMARKET will have to pay thousands of pounds for selling food past its use-by date.

West Sussex County Council’s trading standards team visited Waitrose in Haywards Heath in October 2017.

They found 71 items still on the shelf which had gone past their use-by dates.

The company previously admitted breaching food safety rules for products such as classic fish pies, seasonal scotch eggs with chorizo and parsley, and smoked haddock.

Lawyers said that no one from the public was put at risk, and said the food was one day past the expiry.

Jonathan Goulding, defending, said: “Mistakes do happen, we are talking about human beings in all of this. Waitrose is horrified by this, and it is out of character for the business.

“The company has a perfectly satisfactory system, and mistakes are corrected and put right.”

Judge Tessa Szagun said the public’s concern was how the checks had been missed.

Waitrose was fined £33,350 and was ordered to pay £3,264 in costs and £170 surcharge.

After the case, trading standards team manager Peter Aston said: “While no members of the public were harmed on this occasion, it is vital that shops have robust systems in place to prevent the sale of out of date food.

"Unlike “best before” dates, it is an offence to sell or display items past the indicated use by date as they are highly perishable."

Meanwhile West Sussex County Council cabinet member Debbie Kennard said: "While mistakes obviously do happen, I hope this will act as a wakeup call to this supermarket to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again."