A Sheffield shopkeeper who displayed rotten fruit and vegetables which were unfit for human consumption has been ordered to pay a fine and court costs totalling more than £4,500.
Saheed Matloob, owner of Khawaja & Sons on Page Hall Road, Grimesthorpe, appeared at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court where he was found guilty of 10 separate breaches of EU marketing standards for fresh horticultural produce.
Among the fruit and vegetables were four separate displays of Royal Gala, Golden Delicious and Braeburn apples, a quantity of sweet peppers, spring onions, onions and courgettes.
They were all being displayed and offered for sale with visible signs of rot, deterioration and severe shrivelling.
Additionally, they were displayed without a required country of origin or with a misleading one.
Eight of the 10 offences related to displaying and offering for sale fresh fruit and vegetables of sub-standard quality which were identified on an inspection visit on November 8, 2012.
Two of the offences also included failing to comply with the EU marketing standards for labelling.
Matloob, who did not attend the court hearing, was fined £100 for each of the eight quality offences with two labelling offences each resulting in £50 penalties. The prosecution was also awarded full costs of £3,620.62.
The costs brought the total payable by Matloob to £4,520.62. A further £20 victim’s surcharge was also imposed by the magistrates.
Paul Caldwell, the Rural Payments Agency’s operations director, said: “Consumers should be confident they are buying good quality fresh produce and we will not hesitate in taking all necessary steps to ensure that traders provide what they promise.
“The RPA’s Horticultural Marketing Inspectors work intensively with traders to help and encourage them to follow the regulations – we pursue criminal prosecution only as a last resort.”
The prosecution followed a series of visits and inspections, by the RPA’s Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate, over six months. Between May and November last year, the retailer failed six successive inspections due to sub-standard quality.