A Bristol based fresh produce retailer has been ordered to pay over £14,500 for displaying, offering for sale and selling rotten fruit and vegetables that failed to meet minimum quality standards.
Hazrat Mohammad Ahmadzai, director of Fruit & Veg Planet (SW) Ltd. and store manager Janatgul Easakhil, were both charged by Bristol Magistrates Court on 8 December 2016, following a two year long investigation by the Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Horticultural Marketing Inspectors (HMI).
A final HMI inspection conducted on 3 March 2016, found 12 displays in breach of the EU marketing rules for fresh produce quality and labelling, including rotten grapes and aubergines.
Ahmadzai and Easakhil both failed to appear before the court and were found guilty of all charges. They were each fined £2,500, £1,342 costs and a £170 victim surcharge. The company was fined £5,000, £1,343 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.
Alison Johnson, RPA Operations Director said:
Concerted efforts were made by HMI to work closely with the business through face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the business.
Unfortunately such advice is not always heeded and when all other options have been exhausted we will resort to the use of criminal sanction to bring about a required change in behaviour.
Fruit & Veg Planet (SW) Ltd. is based at 287 Stapleton Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0NG.
Horticultural Marketing Inspectors are part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The inspectors are responsible for the enforcement of the EU marketing standards for fresh fruit, vegetables, salad crops, nuts and cultivated mushroom, throughout England and Wales, wherever fresh produce is grown, imported, exported, bought or sold.