A shopkeeper and his fresh produce company have been fined over £800 for displaying and selling rotten fruit and vegetables in a store in Hull.
During an investigation by Horticultural Marketing Inspectors (HMI) a number of decaying items, including rotten sweet peppers, apples, pears, red onions and radishes were found on display at Bekhal International Foods Ltd, Spring Bank, Hull.
Rural Payments Agency
Horticultural Marketing Inspectors are part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and are responsible for the enforcement of the EU marketing standards for fresh fruit, vegetables, salad crops, nuts and cultivated mushroom, throughout England and Wales. These standards will continue to be enforced after we have left the European Union.
Appearing at Hull Magistrates Court on 31 May, the owner of the retail business, Mr Alaan Azadi, pleaded guilty to a quality and labelling offence related to the sweet peppers. A further four remaining offences were taken into account.
Mr Azadi was fined £250 and was ordered to pay costs of £105, a victims’ surcharge of £30 and £50 for breaking a suspended sentence. The company was fined £250 and ordered to pay costs of £105 with a £30 victims’ surcharge.
Peter Bainbridge, RPA Operations Director said:
Consumers should be confident that the produce they are buying is fresh and in good condition, if it is being sold to them on that basis.
Our inspectors work closely with the fresh produce industry so that retailers understand the role marketing standards can play in adding real value to their business.
However, that support and advice is not always heeded and when rotting goods are continuously found on display we will resort to the use of criminal sanction to bring about a required change in behaviour.
The prosecution followed a series of risk-based enforcement visits and inspections, carried out by the HMI between February 2017 and July 2017.
Concerted efforts were made by the HMI to work closely with Mr Azadi and his staff, with face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the business.