BBC Watchdog Live reports dirty home deliveries by supermarket giant Asda

Watchdog’s reporter was given no training on keeping crates and vans clean, even though Asda say new colleagues are given full training.

“Whilst we take every complaint seriously and are disappointed by the findings of Watchdog in our store, we are confident in the cleaning and hygiene policies and processes we have in place to uphold the high standards our customers rightly expect from Asda. It is inaccurate and misleading to suggest that we do not have policies or training in place at a business level. Each week we deliver almost half a million orders using our totes over 2.5 million times and, whilst some spills and breakages can happen, Watchdog’s findings are isolated examples and the opinion of individual colleagues. They do not reflect the extensive policies and training we have in place and consistently high standards we achieve, which are supported by independent third party audits and our customer services data.” – ASDA Statement

BBC One’s flagship consumer rights series Watchdog Live continues tonight, the second episode of the new series reveals an undercover investigation into poor hygiene standards at supermarket giant Asda’s home delivery service.

“We would like to reassure customers that food safety is our number one priority. All colleagues are given role specific training which includes training on our ‘Clean as You Go’ and deep clean processes. The journalist who posed as a colleague received their initial training, but did not complete enough shifts to receive all the role specific training, and we have fully re-briefed colleagues on our expectations since being contacted by Watchdog.” – ASDA Statement

With nearly 40 percent of the home delivery market, Asda are one of the biggest players. Both Asda employees and customers have contacted Watchdog with allegations about the cleanliness of the store’s delivery crates. One driver told the programme: “There’s no cleaning process in place. The crates are used over and over again, even after spillages. Most, if not all, are dirty, from food, and things like smashed eggs.”

Another driver told the programme they are so concerned about poor hygiene, they are worried about their own family eating food from the crates. In July Asda announced it was removing the option to choose to have carrier bags with Home Delivery and Click & Collect orders. The removal of bags means some food items are placed directly into crates, which Watchdog’s investigation has found aren’t always clean.

Watchdog viewer Carole got in touch about her experience with her first bagless delivery service from Asda. She says she found her food covered in ‘black mouldy stuff’.

Carole told presenter Steph McGovern: “I didn’t notice until I pulled the stuff out of the crate. I felt quite sick about it…. I wouldn’t put it in the fridge like it was because I didn’t want to contaminate what was already in the fridge, and I even cleaned the bottom of the cans.”

“Asda need to sort this out, they’ve had years to do it, haven’t they? So if you get shopping with any sort of filth on it, make a fuss and send us some pictures of it, because it’s not on.” – Presenter Steph McGovern

Back in 2016, Watchdog investigated the cleanliness of Asda’s home delivery service and found dirty crates, lack of cleaning procedures and crates being left on the ground during delivery.

Asda told Watchdog they would be re-training drivers on crate hygiene and would give every driver spillage kits for vans. The supermarket said drivers are trained on when and how to use the cleaning equipment, disinfectants and anti-bacterial sprays and are re-trained annually. They added they provide specialist equipment to help drivers to follow their rule that no delivery crates should be placed on the floor in stores or during deliveries.

Watchdog’s investigation has found none of the policies Asda has in place were being implemented at the store where the programme went undercover. BBC Watchdog Live spoke to food safety expert and Chartered Environmental Health practitioner, Barrie Trevena, who said crates should be washed frequently, and that they should never be put on the ground:

“This is a problem because there’s going to be some bacteria in amongst that. Even if the food you’re putting in is wrapped, the packages then become contaminated and then when the customer handles the cans and the packages, tthat’s going to contaminate their worktop and fridge… There could be dog muck on that grass. If the bottom of the crate is wet it’s going to be dripping down onto all of the other food underneath, even if they’re not stacked directly into one another. It looks like it’s some kind of training issue that they need to get to grips with.”