A Canterbury shopkeeper has been fined for selling rotten fruit and vegetables following an investigation by the Rural Payments Agency’s Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI).
Ishtiaq Ahmed, proprietor of the Garden of England store in Canterbury was sentenced at Canterbury Magistrates Court on 23 November 2015. An HMI investigation in April 2015 found nine regulated displays breaking the EU marketing rules for fresh produce quality and labelling, including apples and lemons which failed to meet the lowest marketable standards permitted.
Mr Ahmed pleaded guilty to all nine charges. He was fined £1,305 for the offences, £2,871.42 for the prosecution’s costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Rural Payments Agency Operations Director Paul Caldwell said:
Prosecution is only used as a last resort and we will always try to get businesses complying with the marketing standards through advice and guidance and, where possible, with the full cooperation and support from the business itself.
In this case, the prosecution followed a series of risk-based inspection visits to the shop where we offered advice and guidance on how to be compliant. Mr Ahmed failed to meet his statutory responsibility and failed to make sure the quality and labelling of the fresh produce he was offering on sale to consumers met the required minimum standards.
Garden of England is located at 19 St. Dunstan’s Street, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 8BH.
The Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate 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.