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Legal proceedings over Sainsbury’s beef packaging dropped

Legal proceedings against supermarket Sainsbury’s over packaging for a high-end joint of beef have been dropped by Lincolnshire County Council as the case is “no longer in the public interest”.

The case, due in court today (October 13), related to a complaint made by a shopper to Lincolnshire’s trading standards about the amount of packaging used on a Taste the Difference beef joint.

Since the initial complaint was made the packaging of the product in question, which included a vacuum-packed plastic layer, a plastic tray with plastic lid and a cardboard sleeve, was reduced by 53% by the retailer and is set to be reduced by another 10% in the next few months.

As a result of the reductions, Lincolnshire County Council said it felt that legal action against the retailer was no longer in the public interest and informed Lincolnshire Magistrates Court accordingly.

Lincolnshire County Council head of trading standards Peter Heafield said: “This authority first drew its concerns about this issue to Sainsbury’s attention in early 2009 and the matters before the court related to the packaging being used on this product in April 2009 and February 2010.  With the changes which have now been made and the intention of Sainsbury’s to make further reductions if possible, this authority has decided that it is no longer in the public interest to prosecute.”

Responding to the news that the matter had been dropped, a Sainsbury’s spokesperson said:  “We are pleased that the council has withdrawn this case, which we don’t believe was ever in the public interest. Our packaging is under constant review and the council was made aware of our plans for this product back in June, so we never understood why the prosecution was allowed to go as far as it did.”

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