A Huddersfield retailer has been fined after admitting displaying rotten and incorrectly labelled fruit and vegetables for sale in his store.
Sadaqad Ali, age 44, who owns Haji Food Store, in Blacker Road, Birkby, Huddersfield, admitted 14 offences of breaching EU marketing standards for fresh horticultural produce when he appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (13/4).
Inspectors working for the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI), part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA), visited the shop in May last year. On May 2 they identified seven products that were not compliant with rules relating to quality and labelling. A further seven offences were identified on May 22 during a further inspection made at the store. These visits followed a number of separate inspections made over a 12 month period where inspectors had provided regular guidance to Mr Ali to help him understand and meet the requirements of the regulations.
Among the fruit and vegetables in question were rotten red onions, strawberries, cucumbers, spinach and carrots; shrivelled apples; and sweet peppers, mushrooms, apples and melons which did not have a country or origin on their labels.
As a result of the breaches, Mr Ali was fined £100 for each of the 14 counts and ordered to pay £1,000 contribution to costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
RPA Operations Director Paul Caldwell said: “This is just part of the wide range of work that RPA undertakes to protect consumers.
“Customers should have trust and confidence that they get what they pay for when handing over their money. Fresh produce should be good quality and labelled accurately and the HMI work is very important in ensuring that these standards are maintained.
“Prosecution is a last resort and we always try to gain compliance with quality and labelling regulations through targeted advice, guidance and instruction.”
Notes to Editors:
Haji Food Store is located at 55 Blacker Road, Birkby, Huddersfield. The offences involved in this investigation relate to regulated produce listed within the Specific Marketing and General Marketing Standards, contrary to Reg. 4(1) of the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009 (as amended).
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.
HMI operates a transparent risk-based approach to enforcement and has the principle aim of gaining cooperation and compliance from the trade it regulates at all stages of the distribution chain. Prosecutions are only taken as a last resort when all other options of education and advice have been exhausted.
The Inspectorate follows the Hampton procedures of identifying and isolating any persistent and blatant offenders. The ultimate sanction of prosecution is then used as a clear deterrent to others who may look to break the EU marketing rules in order to obtain an advantage over other commercial competitors. Further information about the work of HMI can be found on RPA’s website at rpa.defra.gov.uk
RPA is an Executive Agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), providing a range of key services in support of the department’s objectives, including making rural payments, carrying out rural inspections, and livestock tracing.
Media only contact: Adam Fisher, RPA Press Office, 01189 687959 firstname.lastname@example.org