Sainsbury Faces Major Fine on Complaint of Excessive Packaging on a Meat Product

Sainsbury is facing court charges over how one of its products is packaged thanks to the 2003 Packing Regulations Act. Basically the packaging of one of its products has been determined as being excessive and damaging to the environment due to potential waste. Now marketing a product for potential sale and profits will no longer be the sole determination for a company and consideration of environmental waste will be a factor.

Most companies are aware that they should do more to help the environment. Such a directive is attractive to consumers as well as investors. Even if being a “green” company isn’t a priority for executives, it no longer can be absent from a company’s plans. The fact that Sainsbury is facing possible fines for packaging of a product means it has to be a consideration now to meet legal regulations.

The problem with the Packing Regulations Act is that there is no precise wording as to what constitutes excessive packaging. Sainsbury is being prosecuted over a Taste the Difference beef joint. The cut of meat is vacuum-packed and then stored in a tray covered by a plastic lid. A printed cardboard sleeve identifies the product and nutritional information. The Lincolnshire county council’s trading standards director Peter Hearfield initiated the legal action after receiving a call from a concerned shopper over the beef joint’s packaging.

He said: “Excessive packaging on goods can cause unnecessary damage to the environment and increases costs associated with recycling and landfill.”

Sainsbury expressed surprise over the legal move. They insist that the packaging has already been reduced by 53 per cent since the complaint was made in February. A spokeswoman for the company said the company had set goals to cut packaging by a third by 2015.

Despite the supermarket’s changes to the product packaging and talks with council the prosecution is still going ahead with spending taxpayer’s money and will pursue their case on October 13. If found guilty of failing to meet the Packaging Regulations Act’s requirement to minimize a product’s impact on the environment then Sainsbury could be fined 5,000 by magistrates or a larger sum could be considered should the case be heard in a higher court. This is believed to be the first case of a product excessive packaging.