Appearing at Leeds Magistrates Court on 4 December, Salam Mohammad, owner of Gihan Store, on Harehills Lane, Leeds, was found guilty of displaying and offering for sale regulated fresh fruit and vegetables below the minimum standards permitted.
The court fined Mr Mohammad £2,000 and ordered him to pay full prosecution costs of £2,859.20, together with a £170 Victims Surcharge, making a total penalty awarded of £5,029.20.
The case was brought following an investigation by the the Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Horticultural Marketing Inspectors (HMI). The inspectors are 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.
On visiting the Leeds store, inspectors found it was selling grapes that were suffering from 100 per cent rots – making them unfit for human consumption – and were not properly labelled.
Simon Cann, enforcement lead for HMI, said:
We carry out inspections to make sure that fresh produce offered to the consumer is accurately labelled, of acceptable quality and that unsatisfactory produce is kept off the market.
Concerted efforts were made by HMI to work closely with this business through face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the business.
Unfortunately such advice is not always heeded and when all other options have been exhausted we will resort to the use of criminal sanction to bring about a required change in behaviour.