Woolworths in Abbott Street will soon look like the newly refurbished Stocklands store.
Woolworths in Abbott Street will soon look like the newly refurbished Stocklands store.

Baby formula scare not a first for Woolies

QUEENSLAND Health's baby formula prosecution against Woolworths is not the first time the supermarket giant's Far North Queensland operations have been marred by food safety scares.

Woolworth's Abbott St store is at the centre of charges brought by Queensland Health for breaching food standards.

Counsel for the firm has told Cairns Magistrates Court the company would plead guilty next month to all counts, which allege the Abbott St Woolworths stocked baby formula that had expired for more than a year.

The CBD location is no stranger to Queensland Health inspectors. Last year the company was whacked with a $45,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of $2842.55 for 12 charges of breaching the Food Act 2006.

Inspectors found 13 food items were located that were displayed for sale in refrigerated cabinets past their use-by date.

The most glaring breach was a single packet of kabana which had lurked in the back of a display fridge 168 days after it should have been disposed of.

The majority of food included frankfurts, salami, kabana, smoked chicken breast fillets and chorizo.

Other out-of-date products were sourdough bread, pumpkin and fetta pasta, mozzarella, soup, dip and gravy.

In 2004, the company was fined $13,500 in Cairns Magistrates Court in the first such conviction for Woolworths in Australia.

A Woolworths spokeswoman said the company took food safety and quality "very seriously".

"We have introduced new processes and improvements into our stores to ensure food safety and quality standards are met.

"These include increased team training and additional date checks," she said.

"It's vital that our customers trust the integrity of our quality standards."

Counsel for Woolworths tells court the company would plead guilty to food standard breaches.

It is alleged the Abbott St store stocked tins of 900g S26 Gold infant formula which had expired in March and July 2018.

It is further alleged the company stocked 900g Blackmores infant formula, which had expired in February last year.