News story

Leeds based fresh produce retailer fined for selling rotten fruit and vegetables

A shopkeeper has been fined over £3,000 for displaying and selling rotten fruit and vegetables in his Leeds based store.

Picture of a rotten cauliflower

Picture of a rotten cauliflower

During a six-month investigation, Horticultural Marketing Inspectors (HMI) found a number of decaying items, including rotten caulifowers, pre-packed nectarines and bunched garlic, on display at Makkah Foods, Brudenell Road.

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.

Appearing at Leeds Magistrates Court on 3 May, the owner of the retail business Mr Sohail Saleem was found guilty of five quality and labelling offences, although the first specimen charge for cauliflowers was selected with all the four remaining charges taken into account.

He was fined a total of £1,500, with a further £1,500 prosecution and investigation costs and a £150 victim surcharge - bringing the total penalty to £3,150.

Peter Bainbridge, RPA Operations Director said:

The ultimate objective of the RPA’s Horticultural Marketing Inspectors is to work closely with the fresh produce industry at all times. They use face-to-face inspection as a means of providing advice and guidance to help support retailers such as Mr Saleem understand the role that the marketing standards can play in adding real value to their business.

Unfortunately their advice is not always heeded by individuals and businesses and when all other options are exhausted, the RPA 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 May 2017 and August 2017.

Concerted efforts were made by the HMI to work closely with Mr Saleem and his staff, with face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the business.

Published 10 May 2018