News story

Bristol shopkeeper fined for rotten fruit and vegetables offences

Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate investigation finds quality defects and labelling offences in fruit and veg

Lemons with rot
A display of lemons which were on display and on offer for sale with blatant rot and white mould deposits, resulting in this consignment failing to meet the lowest marketable standard permitted for the defect 26% rots.

A Bristol shopkeeper has been fined for selling rotten fruit and vegetables following an investigation by the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI).

Iftikar Hussain, owner of Rehan’s Foodstore & Off Licence in Easton, Bristol, was sentenced at Bristol Magistrates Court on 16 September 2015. An HMI investigation in February 2015 found 11 regulated displays breaking the EU marketing rules relating to fresh produce quality and labelling.

Rural Payments Agency Operations Director Paul Caldwell said:

Prosecution is only used as a last resort and we will always try to gain statutory compliance with the marketing standard regulations through advice, guidance and where possible with the full cooperation and support from the business itself.

In this particular case, the prosecution followed a series of risk-based inspection visits to the shop where advice and guidance on compliance was offered. During this time the owner consistently failed to meet his statutory responsibility and failed to ensure that the quality and labelling of the fresh produce placed on offer for sale met the required minimum standards permitted.

Mr Hussain pleaded guilty to all 11 charges. He was fined £5,000 for the offences, £500 for the prosecution’s costs and a £120 victim surcharge. In sentencing, the magistrates commented that these were very serious offences and the defendant had a duty of care to his customers that he had disregarded and had been given every opportunity to make the required improvements.

Background

  • Rehan’s Foodstore is located at 196 Stapleton Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0NY.

  • The HMI is part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The Inspectorate is 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.

'Out of grade' South African apples variety Cripps Pink
A display showing 'out of grade' South African apples variety Cripps Pink. This particular consignment failed to meet the lowest marketable standard permitted for 10% rots, 8% heavy bruise and 7% scald skin defects.
Published 24 September 2015