FAMILIES across Portsmouth have been left with a sour taste in their mouths after finding out their Christmas chocolate treats are years out of date.
Charlene Martin bought two jars full to the brim with chocolate bars from a stall in Commercial Road as presents for family but was left disgusted after seeing social media posts about the chocolate bars being out of date.
The 37-year-old said: ‘My son had eaten half the jar before we saw the posts on Facebook about the bars being out of date and then we looked at ours and saw ones from 2013 and 2015.
‘It is absolutely disgusting that someone would try to make money by conning people with old chocolate bars and I dread to think how many children have eaten the out-of-date bars.
‘I am just thankful that eating out-of-date chocolate doesn’t kill you.’
The stall featured large jars, which Charlene paid £12.99 for and children’s jars for £7.99, both of which were full of top chocolate brands including KitKat, Mars, Cadbury Dairy Milk and Kinder.
The-mum-of-three said: ‘I work in Co-op and I know people will buy out-of-date food as long as they know about it but I think because the stall owner was not upfront about it, that is why people are so annoyed.’
Sarah Jayne-Law and her husband Nick, 45, from Hayling Island, were treated to chocolate jars from the stall by their children and were excited to enjoy their gift on Christmas Day.
Sarah said: ‘Nick and my son Sam sat down to eat some of the chocolates and then we noticed some of the dates which were up to nearly five years out of date.
‘It has ruined Christmas knowing that someone has deliberately done this as one of the KitKat bars was in date so whoever did this knew what they were doing.’
Sarah said her husband felt ill after eating the expired chocolate and now she wants to report it to trading standards.
The 43-year-old added: ‘He felt a bit dodgy later on and it is upsetting that someone is profiting from children. All the bars were facing out of the jar so you couldn’t see the back and now that seems extremely calculated.
‘It is worrying because we don’t know where these chocolates have been stored for the past five years and I want everyone to know about it so they don’t eat these chocolates.’
Charlene has since vowed that she will speak to Portsmouth City Council about the incident.
Charlene added: ‘Now I think about it the stall was only there for one day as I work in a shop nearby and I walked back past it and was going to buy some more and it had gone.
‘I guess because I thought it was part of the market that it was all okay and I think in future I will think twice but I am definitely going to speak to the council about what has happened.’
Councillor Dave Ashmore, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, said: ‘It isn't illegal to sell food that is past its best before date but it is down to the seller to ensure the product is still of a suitable quality.
‘We would always advise people to make sure they buy from reputable traders and check the quality of anything they are buying.
‘If there are any doubts at all contact trading standards through the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03454 040506 or www.citizensadvice.org.uk.’