Asda has been forced to apologise to its home delivery customers this week after a Watchdog investigation revealed poor standards of hygiene in the company’s home delivery vans fleet.
The BBC One investigative consumer programme carried out an undercover investigation after being warned of the issue by both customers and company whistleblowers alike. One whistleblower at the company said he was so appalled by the situation he wore gloves when handling the home delivery crates thanks to his concern over catching something from the filth. Another employee sent photos of mould and squashed fruit on crates used to deliver food to nurseries and nursing homes.
In its tests of crates from ten different deliveries by Watchdog three were found to have bacteria levels equal to the dirt levels of a kitchen floor whilst two were deemed as dirty as a kitchen bin.
As well as the dirty crates, there were also complaints about the packing of loose vegetables and unbagged, uncooked meat alongside other products.
The programme saw a swift response from Asda who admitted they had fallen short in the stores concerned and that immediate action – including the deep cleaning of every home shopping crate and van, as well as briefing employees on cleaning and food safety rules – would be taken. Staff are already training annually on how to use the cleaning equipment supplied by Asda.
“Our customers expect and deserve the highest standards of service from us and these are examples where we clearly haven’t lived up to this – and we’re really sorry for that,” said Asda in a statement to reassure customers.
“We’ve acted immediately not just to address and resolve the specific issues raised, but to ensure standards are improved and maintained across all our home shopping services,” it said
Asda’s stated action plan to clean up home delivery:
The action we’ve taken combines retraining and rebriefing as well as a deep cleaning programme:
- We’ve rebriefed every store colleague about food safety rules for home shopping, including the need to use separate bags for raw meat and loose produce when packing crates. We’ve also rebriefed our home shopping colleagues about the importance of ‘clean as you go’ when picking home shopping. This means colleagues should clean any debris or minor spills from a home shopping crate before they use it, using special disinfectant and sanitising spray.
- We’ve introduced additional deep cleaning for all delivery crates in all stores – something we trialled successfully this summer alongside our regular procedures for cleaning crates with anti-bacterial sprays and disinfectants as part of day to day ‘clean as you go’.
- We’ve deep cleaned every home shopping van to make sure they meet the high standards we expect, and increased the frequency of these cleans. This cleaning involves a specialist ‘dry cleaning’ system that is highly effective at killing bacteria.
- We’ve improved the ‘spillage kits’ in all our vans so our drivers are able to clean small spills quickly and easily and also rebriefed our drivers on the importance of transporting home shopping crates on a trolley between their van and a customer’s home to avoid crates being placed on the ground.
Image credits: Asda