More than ten minimarkets have been caught selling food past its use by date.

The food hygiene inspections by Enfield Borough Council found 16 of 27 shops visited had food which was out of date resulting in 130 items being seized.

The authority is considering prosecution as selling food past its use by date is illegal.

During the clampdown, businesses also were found with no hot water for staff toilets, food not stored at the correct chilled temperature, a lack of wash basins for staff to use when handling open food and evidence of date marking on some foods being tampered.

Enfield Council’s cabinet member for environment and community safety, Councillor Chris Bond, said: “It is completely unacceptable that food businesses in this borough do not understand they cannot sell out of date food to our residents. It is a fundamental part of operating as a food business and we are addressing this alarming gap in knowledge as a matter of urgency.

“We will not tolerate this cavalier approach to food safety and we will continue to monitor and work with businesses to ensure they comply with the standards and practices we expect of them in order to keep consumers in Enfield safe from harm.

”Those who cannot or will not acknowledge the importance of complying with food hygiene rules need to know they run the very risk of closure or prosecution.”