Sheffield trader caught selling rotten fruit is ordered to pay nearly £15,000

A Sheffield wholesaler has been told to cough up nearly £15,000 after being caught selling rotting fruit.

By Robert Cumber
Saturday, 20th March 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Saturday, 20th March 2021, 4:01 pm

The Sheffield branch of Total Produce Limited, one of the UK’s biggest fresh grocery firms, was found marketing fruit including mangoes, watermelons, Braeburn apples and strawberries which were decaying or had labelling omissions.

The rotting fruit was discovered at the firm’s units in the South Yorkshire Produce and Flower Centre, on Parkway Drive, Darnall, as part of an investigation by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Some of the rotten fruit found for sale at the Sheffield branch of Total Produce Limited (pic: Animal and Plant Health Agency)

The company pleaded guilty at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court on March 17 to four quality and labelling offences, contrary to the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations.

It was fined £10,000 for these four offences, along with Prosecution and investigation costs of £ 4,574.

Total Produce was prosecuted following a series of inspections between January 2019 and June 2019, with evidence collected in September 2019.

As illustrated by the photos, the mangoes had 17 per cent rots and the apples 10 per cent combined rot, shrivel and bruise.

Kelvin Hughes, representing APHA’s Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate (HMI), said: “Consumers buy produce in good faith and need assurance as to the quality they source as well as relying on accurate labelling to know the provenance of these goods.

“Through the investigation our inspectors performed a series of escalating enforcement visits and issued a series number of non-conformity notices. Despite this and working with the local branch and national company non-compliance continued.

“As a result, in the interests of consumers and the fruit and vegetable industry generally and locally we moved to prosecution which has been concluded today.”