Leeds-based Asda apologises after whistleblowers raise hygiene concerns

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Leeds-based supermarket giant Asda has apologised to customers and taken “immediate action” to improve standards across its home shopping services after whistleblowers raised concerns about poor hygiene.

BBC One’s Watchdog programme launched an undercover investigation into the supermarket’s delivery service following several complaints from the public about hygiene issues.

Tests of bacteria levels on a crate from 10 different deliveries, undertaken by a Government-accredited microbiology laboratory, found that three were “equivalent to [the] dirt levels of a kitchen floor” and two were “extremely dirty, which equates to the dirt levels of a kitchen bin”.

One whistleblower said he wore gloves at work because of his concerns about catching something from the dirt while a second sent photos of mould and squashed fruit on the crates, adding that they were used to deliver food to nurseries and nursing homes.

One customer showed the programme maggots she found in a cat food box from one Asda delivery.

In a response to Watchdog, Asda said it had fallen short of the standards expected by customers.

The grocer said it had taken action including the deep cleaning of every home shopping van, re-briefings for every Asda employee on cleaning and food safety rules and the introduction of deep cleaning for all delivery crates in all stores.

An Asda spokesman said: “Our customers expect and deserve the highest standard of service. We haven’t lived up to this but our customers can trust us to take complaints seriously and do the right thing to resolve them.

“Although some of our policies and procedures have not been followed in these six stores, we have taken immediate action to permanently improve standards across all our home shopping services.”