Cheesy issue for supermarket

A lunchtime craving resulted in mouldy disgust for Papamoa resident Thomas Weingarten last week.

The 36-year-old says he discovered mould growing on blocks of reduced-price Mild cheese in the chilled section at Countdown Papamoa and says this is “a step too far”.

Thomas Weingarten discovered blocks of mouldy cheese at Countdown Papamoa last week.   

“My wife and I have been living in Papamoa for five years and ever since we came here there has been a problem.”

He says it is not only disgusting but also a serious health risk to the public with the reduced cheese sitting right next to the edible-mould cheese. 

A self-proclaimed cheese lover, Thomas says he took two steps back when he saw the mould on the cheese and immediately took some photos before ringing Tauranga City Council to discuss his situation.

He has since been informed by the council the issue has been directed to Toi Te Ora Public Health.

Toi Te Ora food act officer Grant King says the complaint was received last Friday and is currently under investigation.

Thomas believes the Countdown and the previous Pak N' Save store have been selling expired goods including tinned food, fresh produce, bottled drinks and fresh fruit juice for some time.

“Even the Keri fresh fruit juice, some of it is more than half a year past its used by date. When the two juices are next to each other, the off one looks like liquid rust.”  

Thomas admits he does not want to be the snitch, but the matter must be resolved.

He is not interested in taking up the issue with Countdown Papamoa as he believes the company will try to resolve it by way of a $5 food voucher.

“I think it's a serious concern and a serious issue. They should really stop selling food that's not sellable.

“It's supposed to be chucked in a bin.”

Countdown Supermarkets general manager Richard Manaton says because the compliant was not made to the store, so enquiries will have to be made.

“What normally happens is if the customer laid a complaint we would look to retrieve the product and if deemed unacceptable we would replace and refund the product.”

Richard admits they do not know if it is an isolated issue or part of a production batch, but says the best course of action is for the customer to send details of the product including the brand name and best before date so the issue can be resolved.

A Tauranga cheese shop manager says it is hard to distinguish the shelf life of supermarket cheeses because of the large amount of colourings, flavourings and preservatives.

He says it is not a natural cheese and the date on the wrapper is not a clear indication of how long it will last.


More important things in life!

Posted on 04-02-2013 05:51 | By monty111

We are talking about a piece of moldy cheese here! Get a life you people and look for more important things to whinge about.


Posted on 03-02-2013 23:03 | By psx-guru

some of these comments are really saddening and shocking. this is not about me learning the difference between "use by" and "best before date". (i also didn't buy that cheese.) this is about a food-selling store which doesn't deserve the trust of his customers, hence it doesn't deserve our money. do you guys really NOT know that blue-cheese contains edible mould, while this kind of mould (you can see in the picture) is a SERIOUS health risk? those kind of moulds are a BIG difference! one is yummy, the other one gives you food poisoning. sad that you don't seem to know that difference. when i read "many economically minded kiwis would easily cope with the mould by cutting it off" i could throw up! you really buy these items, which should not even be sold? you safe a view cents and put your whole family at risk?? would you REALLY give that your little child to eat just by cutting the mouldy bits of??? that's shocking! i would not even give this my dog to eat. the point why i was asking for this article to be written, is that apparently too many people don't care or are not even aware of the problem. i wanted to create this awareness with the kind help of sun-live! the "use-by" and "best before" dates are only valid, if the food is handled properly! if (for example) the cooling-chain is interrupted, the food goes off long before it reaches those dates. it's amazing that this particular countdown store (former woolworths) is doing this since many years now. it's also nice to see that at least a few others are experiencing similar issues in different countdown-stores in regards to obsolete items sold. not only i do expect to buy proper food for those high countdown prices. i expect the staff to take items of the shelf, when they see that it's off, even though the end-date hasn't been reached yet. that's just common sense. cheers! thomas

Posted on 03-02-2013 16:04 | By usandthem

the previous store to countdown was woolworths,not pak n save.

Tui ad?

Posted on 03-02-2013 14:07 | By tibs

"Thomas admits he does not want to be the snitch" Yeah right! A five dollar voucher would have got him a cheese block. Do the decent thing Thomas take it up with the store concerned. You don't have to accept a voucher. Also two steps back you must be exceptionally squeamish or an actor. Most round the world sailors and many economically minded kiwis would easily cope with the mould by cutting it off. I agree there probably has been a problem for the five years Thomas has lived there. Sounds like he's confused around the Best Bofore date and the Use By date. All cheese has the ability to mould. Indeed it is started with a culture. Also, where does the Tauranga cheese shop manager find "Natural" cheese? I doubt that cattle, sheep and goats really know enough to make natural cheese and leave it somewhere for him.

Standards are slipping

Posted on 03-02-2013 13:22 | By bopbopper

I had a very similar situation with Countdown in Bethlehem Tauranga. I brought a bag of premium puppy food to find when returning home it was 12 months expired. I approached the store and recieved an apology and assurance this would be corrected. To my disgust two weeks later when i returned to buy another bag of the same product the product was still on the selves and still 12 months expired!! Again i approached the manager with a complaint but have no faith in this issue being corrected in the long-term.. Unacceptable that i should feel i need to check every expiry date on items brought from Countdown, but clearly their systems are that poor that we need to. Sort it out Countdown!!! You have let yourselves down and are putting your comsumers at needless risk.


Posted on 03-02-2013 11:24 | By traceybjammet

just dont buy it some folks just love to whine tell the store you think its unacceptable and shop elsewhere easy really

what a joke

Posted on 03-02-2013 11:17 | By katandjarad

Is this guy serious! If you dont want to risk buying spoiled food dont buy reduced to clear items! a bit of mould on your cheese, a self proclaimed cheese lover that doesnt like mould on his cheese, sounds a bit odd to me. There is a difference between best before and expired dates, best you learn about it buddy!

use by date?

Posted on 03-02-2013 10:38 | By whatsinaname

isnt there a use by date on the label. so i dont believe what the tauranga cheese shop manager says in the last paragraph.

If it isn't a health hazard

Posted on 03-02-2013 10:33 | By Phailed

and if it is marked down in price and people can see the mould, then what's the problem? Some people actually buy cheese with mould on purpose. Isn't it called blue cheese?

and you bought reduced price cheese

Posted on 03-02-2013 09:59 | By cheesy

Did you think the supermarket was reducing it for the good of their own health? Anyone who buys reduced price goods knows why its reduced.... damaged or close to expiry


Posted on 03-02-2013 08:35 | By Wonkytonk

Another typical "she'll be alright attitude" and where nothing will change! The supermarket should be fined for not even understanding the food industry.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now
Opinion Poll

What facilities do you think Tauranga needs?

A large performing arts centre/conference hub
A 50m swimming pool
An outdoor sports and events stadium
A museum
None of the above
All of the above

Bay Today

Waterworld. Photo: Ron Webber.

Send us your photos from around the Bay of Plenty.