Shoppers complain of ‘rotten turkeys’ from supermarkets ‘ruining’ Christmas

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A number of families have complained that their Christmas dinners were “ruined” after the turkeys they bought for the big day turned out to be “rotten”.

Several people took to Twitter to complain that their whole turkeys or turkey products from several supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S, Lidl and Waitrose had gone off by Christmas day despite still being in date.

Some complained that their poultry “stank” once they had opened the packaging, while others only realised that the bird had gone rotten after cooking it.

One person posted a photo of their turkey, which appeared discoloured and had large white spots on the skin. They wrote to Tesco on Twitter: “Disgusting. Rotten turkey.”

Another Tesco customer tweeted: “Who do I complain to about my turkey? It’s in the bin outside because despite it having a use-by 2022-12-27T09:57:40+00:00 of 27 December, I was going to cook it today (at the in-law’s yesterday), opened the packaging and heaved from the smell. It was rancid. Won’t be going back for turkey again.”

A third shopper claimed they opened their turkey, which was allegedly bought from Sainsbury’s, on Christmas eve, and were “disappointed” to find it was “rotten”.

“Absolutely stank and slimey!” they claimed. “Thankfully Aldi saved the day with a last-minute replacement.”

Sainsbury’s also received a complaint from a shopper who posted a photo of her turkey, which appeared discoloured with dark spots under the skin, and wrote: “Please get back to me ASAP about this! £40 for a rotten turkey.”

M&S was also hit by a complaint, as a customer posted photographs of their cut of the bird that showed green spots on the skin and meat. They wrote: “Thanks M&S for the rotten turkey [vomit emoji].”

Writing to Lidl, one shopper said: “Disappointed, rotten turkey crown absolutely stunk the kitchen out when we just opened it, straight into the bin outside, and got the scented candles going!”

The poultry issues come after bird flu hit the turkey supply chain hard in the run up to Christmas, leading to a shortage of British free range turkeys for the festive season. The British Poultry Council said that total turkey production for Christmas was around 8.5 to 9 million birds, but around a million were culled or died from the disease.

News of the shortage led to a rise in sales of frozen turkey. According to the Guardian, purchases more than doubled in October as people rushed to ensure they had a bird in the freezer in time for Christmas.

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said in a statement: “We understand our customers enjoy turkey at Christmas and we are very sorry to hear that for a very tiny number of people we did not meet our usual high standards. We are apologising and investigating immediately. We would ask anyone with similar concerns to return their product to one of our stores to be refunded and for this to be investigated further.”

A Tesco representative said: “We’re really sorry to hear about this. We know that turkey is an important part of Christmas for many of our customers and we take great care when selecting and preparing our turkeys. We would ask anyone who is not completely happy to return the product to one of our stores so we can investigate further, and issue a full refund.”

The Independent has contacted M&S, Waitrose and Lidl for comment.

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