Old Chicken Being Sold Fresh At Coles And Aldi, Industry Report Suggests

Late last week, the National Union of Workers released a paper, entitled "Better Jobs 4 Better Chicken", which focuses on the many issues facing Australia's poultry industry, from poor working conditions to the need for a code of conduct. One of the document's more surprising revelations is that supermarket chains Coles and Aldi could be selling chicken up to a week old as fresh.

Image: Troy Tolley.

"The date changes on labels so they are using up to six-day-old chicken which is then dated today's date," revealed a worker by the name of "Erica". "Returned chickens are processed as new chicken when Coles returns chicken it is sent to Aldi and Aldi returns it, it is sent to Coles.

"This happens every week. Returned tray packs are turned into kebab or marinade and sent back out. I would never buy chicken from Coles or Aldi because of what I have seen."

Another worker with a similar tale is Suriyong Downes. After seven years in poultry processing, she was let go in June 2011. Downes had no qualms with talking about her experiences.

"When I was working in the packing area, a supervisor told us we had to remove labels on some inferior poultry that had been returned to the poultry company by Coles because it was not suitable to sell," she stated. "This supervisor told us to remove the label and to put a new label on the old inferior chicken so it could be sold to a new supermarket. I felt bad about it but there was a lot of pressure on us and we were worried we would lose our jobs if we didn't do it."

From the report, the blame appears to sit with the poultry processors, rather than the supermarkets themselves. Still, you'd think that such companies would have strict policies when it comes to sourcing their meat and produce to prevent this sort of thing happening.

Crikey has Coles on record claiming that, as far as it's concerned, "no evidence" exists to support the allegations, while Aldi has yet to reply to the site's inquiries.

The paper contains many more horror stories -- free-range and non-free range chicken being mixed up, meat being dropped on the ground and placed back on the production line, criminally low wages and dodgy payment practices. Rather than point fingers, the paper's aim is to promote discussion, though I doubt the likes of Coles and Aldi appreciate its contents as good old constructive criticism.

[NUW, via Crikey]

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Comments

    I doubt Coles and Aldi are the only ones, some of the chicken in Woolies has a very thick layer of fat on some very large Maryland legs. Plus don't forget that one of the reasons Coles and Woolies can sell there chicken so cheap is that they force the suppliers to sell at their prices or they can go elsewhere. Same thing happens with dairy the issues there, bordering on criminal. One other thing I have noticed, in Woolies in particular is the practice of placing larger white cut price tags on products that are exactly the same as the price on the original price tag..!

    Check with your local deli and specialist shops, the big supermarkets don't offer a better price or better produce any more. That an as Eccentric mentions above they are using their market power to put the squeeze on producers to generate bigger profit margins (rather than offering better prices as they would have you believe).

    Friends of mine used to work at Zistis Chicken at Eastgardens. They told me to never buy chicken from them, cos they bleached the old raw chicken, when it started to go green.

    Also, I used to work for Delifrance Freshbake at the Delifrance factory. We cooked bread, muffins and breakfast pastries for a lot of the hotels in Sydney. We would sometimes go for weeks with no detergent to wash up. Everyday there was at least one person from the factory line who spent thier entire shift sticking new Use By stickers on boxes of bread in the freezer.

    I went in to start a Sunday night shift once to find that a pidgeon had been trapped in the room where the muffin mix was made. It had to have been in there since Friday afternoon, as there were no other weekend shifts, and there was birdshit over EVERYTHING. The mixers, the benches, the utensils, the bowls, everything.

    IT IS STILL FAIR DINKIM TRUE BLUE CHICKEN, STOP COMPLAINING.

    It's a well known fact within the Butchering industry that regardless of weather it's Coles, Ald, Safeway or even your local butcher, Never buy marinated meat products. The marinade is used to preserve outdated meat and mask the smell.
    Most of the time it's OK to eat but it's far, far from being fresh..
    Find a damn good local butcher, establish a strong relationship with them and you'll be rewarded with quality product.

    What Brett said. Our local butcher is $1-2kg more expensive across the board, but the meat is far, far better than anything I've found in a supermarket. And - SERVICE!

    I used to work in the deli at one of the major Coles supermarkets in the ACT. Baiada would often send boxes of rotten chicken to us. I'd try to tell my direct manager about it (she did agree with me though, and send the stock back), but the store manager gave me a written warning because of it. I told them to shove it once I started my second year of uni, and got a job for a government agency.

    I have been on Aldis so called customer line for 20 mins still no answer. I was ringing to ask them about their meat sales policy, i purchased beef and pork at a discounted rate. The useby date was visible but i didnt know todays date. When i got home i opend the meat and the stench was horrible. I realised i purchased meat that was past its use by date. That was my fault. I dont think Aldi should be able to sell any fresh food past its used by date.Disgusting Aldi

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