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Friday, 8 September, 2000, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Stadium pies given red card
Millennium Stadium aerial view
Fans at the stadium were offered out-of-date pies
An inquiry is underway at Cardiff's showpiece Millennium Stadium after their caterers were fined 2,000 for having out-of-date pies and pasties for sale.

Pies and pasties a month past their sell-by date were offered for sale for 2 each to rugby supporters at a Wales international match.

Letherby and Christopher Ltd, the company which runs the catering at the stadium, admitted two offences at Cardiff magistrates court.

The magistrates were told the steak pasties and chicken and mushroom pies were left over from the rock concert at the stadium on Millennium Eve by the Manic Street Preachers.

Caterers criticised

Their eat-by date was 5 January, but they were offered for sale at the Six Nations match against France a month later on 5 February.

Trading standards officers discovered the out-of-date pies.

The company, which specialises in providing food at Britains major sports venues, paid about 1m for the contract to feed the stadium's fans.

However, they have faced criticism for expensive food and drink and long queues during events.

Millennium stadium
The stadium's catering company admitted the offences
Announcing an investigation into the conviction, an official at the Millennium Stadium said: "We will be making inquiries into the circumstances which surrounded this case.

"It is disappointing and we will be seeking assurances about the quality of the food at future events."

The court was told a trading standards inspector visited the stadium's catering facilites before the game.

He found the 11 steak pasties and 24 chicken and mushroom pies a month out of date.

They were waiting to be heated and served up to hungry fans.

Hilary Rice, representing Letherby and Christopher, said the company admitted the offences - but said there was no risk to public safety.

New rules issued

"The pies and pasties has simply been frozen from the previous month," she said.

"A great many pies and pasties had been bought for the Manics concert on New Year's Eve.

"Unfortunately they were not all used. The concert-goers appeared to prefer to drink lager rather than eat the pasties.

"Those remaining pies and pasties were then frozen and monitored on a daily basis. Upon defrosting the temperature of the fridges was again strictly controlled.

"The company had taken independent advice from the British Frozen Food Association and also the manufacturer on this issue.

"However it appears that a breach of food labelling regulation had occurred. New instructions have now been sent out."

Letherby and Christopher Ltd - owned by the Compass group, one of the world's largest catering multinational companies - was fined 1,000 for each offence and ordered to pay 240 costs.

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