Environmental health officers in Barnet have launched an investigation into the sale of Pesach butter almost a year beyond its "best before" date in a number of north-west London shops.
The Lurpak brand butter carries a white sticker with the date "20-05-10" next to the London Beth Din imprint. However, if the label is peeled back, it reveals a "best before" date of May 27, 2009. Lurpak has not produced any butter for Pesach this year.
A printed label on the side of the pack describes the sole agency for the UK as a Wembley company, S Schwartz Ltd.
An officer in the environmental health department at Barnet Council said: "We would be concerned about the overwritten date. There may not be anything wrong with eating it but that would depend on how it had been stored and we would want to know about that. The quality would certainly be reduced."
Arla Foods, the main importer and distributor for Lurpak in Britain, was also concerned about the sale of the butter and stressed that it had not originated from Arla.
Shopper June Mansell is enraged by the date disparity. "The community needs to know that they are buying butter that was for last year's Pesach. It's a question of trust and there is no excuse for it," she said.
"I would like to know whether or not it is still kosher. Either way, people who have bought it have been conned."
Mrs Mansell had bought a pack of the butter from a shop in Hendon. On discovering the "best before" date, she returned it and received a refund.
The JC found a number of packets on sale in the Yarden shop in Golders Green Road on Tuesday evening. Called on Wednesday, a staff member said: "I was not aware of this but I will check and take it all off the shelf immediately."
Early on Wednesday Kay's, also in Golders Green Road, said it had stocks of Lurpak. Later in the day, an employee said: "We were selling it but we're not now. They made too much last year and they froze it. You can freeze it and it will keep for a year-and-a-half."
An S Schwartz representative responded "I have no comment" to all questions.