Crunch time for 10,000 bags of crisps after Alby’s unusual discovery at Romford firm

Alby Tebbutt tries out some of the bags of crisps he has aquired

Alby Tebbutt tries out some of the bags of crisps he has aquired - Credit: Archant

It’s crunch time for 10,000 bags of crisps that are two weeks past their “best before” date.

Alby Tebbutt tries out some of the bags of crisps he has aquired

Alby Tebbutt tries out some of the bags of crisps he has aquired - Credit: Archant

So a local business owner is appealing to the salt of the Earth to help him shift them.

The problem presented itself after an unusual discovery at Alby Tebbutt’s removal company Copsey, based in Crow Lane, Romford.

When Copsey seized a massive storage container that hadn’t been paid for, Alby expected it to be empty.

But he realised he’d bitten off more than he could chew when he saw a mountain of snacks within.

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“People put all kinds of stuff in our containers,” said Alby.

“But we opened this one up and it’s full of thousands of packets of crisps, all in sealed boxes.”

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Initially, the surprise haul put its new owner in a bit of a pickle – all 500kg of crisps expired the next day.

“The date they ran out was April 23 – so we thought we’d have to dump them all, which would have been a shame.

“So I thought: ‘I’ll find out who they were being supplied to’.

“And the fellow who had been going to receive them said crisps are edible for months after the sell-by date.”

Sure enough, the Food Standards Agency confirmed the “best before” date on the crisps was merely an indicator of quality, not of food safety.

“If food has a ‘best before’ date it’s just a quality issue,” said a spokesman. “There’s only a safety issue when food has a ‘use by’ date.”

Food like dairy, meat and fish usually comes with a “use by” date after which it could be dangerous to eat.

But a lot of dried and canned food only carries a “best before” date, and is safe to eat when this date has passed.

“The reasons a lot of people chuck things away are nonsense,” said newly enlightened Alby. “These crisps will be fine several months after the ‘sell-by’ date – you just can’t sell them.”

Even so, the container of crisps has become a can of worms.

Because two weeks after the snacks were found, Collier Row Food Bank has refused them – so now Alby’s desperately trying to bag a good home for them while they’re still fresh.

One idea is to find a kind-hearted soul to run a market stall where the crisps can be given away in return for charity donations.

Failing that, anyone willing to take the crisps off him in return for a donation to Help for Heroes, the charity that supports wounded ex-servicemen and women along with their families, is asked to contact him on 01708 724 213.

“They can have as many crisps as they want,” said Alby. “We’ll even deliver them if someone wants enough at once.

“All they’ve got to do is make a donation to Help for Heroes.”

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