LEGAL | Staff Reporter, Australia

Retail Food Group pulls products with extended use-by dates

Cakes by Michel’s Patisserie were reportedly sold up to six months past their use-by date.

Retail Food Group (RFG), the owner of Michel’s Patisserie, announced it is withdrawing products following reports that say the company was knowingly selling cakes and other goods past their used-by dates.

"RFG follows strict standards with regard to food quality and any product date extension was granted following written approval from the supplier and with consumer safety top of mind," the company said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

"Regardless, RFG has taken voluntary action and is in the process of withdrawing any products which had received approved date extensions from our suppliers."

RFG, which also owns the Gloria Jean's, Pizza Capers, Brumby’s and Donut King brands, said that it had requested shelf-life extensions with less than 1% of its 1,000-plus supplier network "where appropriate and safe to do so".

"RFG audits its suppliers and distributors regularly and will remove any supplier from its network if they are deemed to have contravened relevant food safety regulations," the company said, adding that it had not been contacted by food safety regulators.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald previously revealed that RFG was telling Michel's franchisees to ignore expiry dates and adopt new shelf-life dates that were between two and six months later.

Such date extensions prompted the NSW Food Authority to refer RFG for investigation to its food safety counterpart in Queensland, where the franchisor is headquartered.

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