The owners of a Bradford shop have been fined for selling rotten, damaged and incorrectly labelled fruit following an investigation by the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI).
Mohammad Haleem, age 36, and Mohammed Rahim, age 34, of Spencer Foods, in Spencer Road, admitted ten separate breaches of EU marketing standards for fresh horticultural produce when they appeared at Bradford Magistrates’ Court on 11th November. The offences related to three separate displays of grapes, apples and apricots, which were affected by soiling, bruising and rot respectively, plus cherries, lychees, peaches, oranges, two varieties of onions and spinach which were displayed without the required country of origin. The grapes were also incorrectly labelled.
The offences were found during at an HMI inspection visit to the shop on 5th February last year. Haleem and Rahim were each fined £1,200. They were also ordered to pay costs of £360 and a victims’ surcharge of £240.
HMI is part of the Rural Payments Agency and Operations Director Paul Caldwell said: “This case highlights just part of the work RPA undertakes to protect consumers. Fresh produce should be good quality and labelled accurately and the HMI work is very important in ensuring these standards are met. Prosecution is a last resort and we always try to gain compliance with quality and labelling regulations through advice guidance and instruction. In this particular case the prosecution followed a series of visits over 16 months. Between August 2012 and November 2013, the store failed ten successive visits from inspectors where advice and guidance was offered, but inspections found persistent poor quality and inadequate labelling.”