Sainsbury jail sentences top our headlines

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food safety Food standards agency Sainsbury

Jail sentences for Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe and its former boss Justin King lead our Good news, bad news sideways look at this week’s top food industry headlines.

Both executives were sentenced to two years and three years respectively in separate cases in Egyptian courts, after being convicted of financial offences linked to Sainsbury failed joint venture in the country.

Coup was convicted of embezzlement​ while King was found guilty of “a breach of trust”​, ​according to reports. Two Egyptian courts ruled the men were guilty of the offences, which were linked with Sainsbury’s doomed £50M investment in a supermarket joint venture in the country with local businessman Amr El Nasharty.

Fly to Egypt this weekend

A party of Sainsbury executives is reportedly planning to fly to Egypt this weekend to attend an appeal hearing. The retailer strong refutes allegations that Coupe, King or any Sainsbury executive did anything wrong.

There was bad news too for food factory owner Tony Chuoc Ham Lam, who was fined £14,000 at Bexley Magistrates Court after he was convicted of 14 offences​ under food safety legislation.

A council visit had revealed filthy premises, riddled with mould, dirty equipment, leaking drainage, no washing facilities, inadequate and dirty protective clothing and a rodent infestation.

But it was better news for Morrisons’ former boss Dalton Philips and high street baker Greggs

Philips received a £1M bonus​ for his work last year, in addition to his basic salary of £850,000 it emerged this week. Other entitlements make ex boss’s total package worth £2.3M.

Reason to celebrate

Greggs had reason to celebrate this week too, with the news that its own-shop like-for-like sales rose by 5.9%​ in the first four months of the year.

Bad news

  • Sainsbury’s Mike Coupe and Justin King face Egyptian jail terms
  • Soy fined £14,000 after conviction on 14 offences under food safety legislation

The results – welcomed by analysts – reflected growth in the breakfast goods category, said Greggs. The baker said, in a statement accompanying the results, it planned to launch a new range of own-label drinks in the coming weeks.

Also this week launched a new mobile app​ to cater for the growing proportion of our readers who choose to access our site from mobile devices. The new app delivers improves readability, with improved new navigation and a fresher look, together with a new look for our supplement Food Ingredients, Health and Nutrition.

Election news

And finally in a one-off feature ahead of the general election on Thursday (May 7), we bring you a roundup of election news related to the food and drink industry.

CAMRA revealed 1000 MPs​ – including top contenders for number 10 Downing Street David Cameron and Ed Miliband – had pledged to back the pressure group’s campaigns.

Good news

  • Dalton Philips: £1M bonus
  • Greggs’s: 6% sales boost
  • new mobile site

Labour was most supportive of CAMRA’s real ale campaigns, said the pressure group after more of its prospective parliamentary candidates pledged to back the group than other those of other parties.

Consumer pressure group Which? urged the next government to improve food safety by beefing up​ the Food Standards Agency (FSA). Full responsibility to oversee food standards, hygiene and safety should be restored to the agency, argued Which?

Finally the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) told us, whoever forms the next government, it wanted a dedicated food and drink manufacturing council​ to improve communication with government, along the lines of the Automotive Council co-chaired by former business secretary Vince Cable.

Meanwhile TV presenter and political pundit Andrew Neil told the FDF’s Manufacturers’ Dinner in London last night (April 30) that Labour was likely to form a minority government​ after the election on May 7.

Election update

  • CAMRA revealed more than 1000 MPs pledged to back its campaigns
  • FDF wants a food and drink manufacturing council
  • Which? wants a beefed up FSA, with full responsibility for food standards, hygiene and safety
  • Andrew Neil told the FDF’s Manufacturers’ Dinner in London last night (April 30) that Labour was likely to form a minority government after the election on May 7

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