Fruit and veg supplier fined for labelling offences

Food City has been ordered to pay nearly £18,000 in fines and costs for displaying and selling sub-standard and incorrectly labelled fresh fruit and vegetables.

Banares Ali and his company, Food City (Stourbridge), pleaded guilty to 32 quality and labelling offences and was fined last week.

Charges involved breaches of EC grading rules for fresh fruit and vegetables. The company was investigated and warned over 18 months.

Several consignments failed to meet the lowest marketable class including apples, sweet peppers, cauliflowers and shelling peas.

Batches of Brussel sprouts, peaches and plums were found to be displayed or offered for sale in contravention of labelling rules, Halesowen Magistrates' Court heard.

Horticultural Marketing Inspections, part of the Rural Payments Agency, brought the prosecution following a customer complaint in 2006 to Dudley trading standards.

"Despite repeated attempts at seeking compliance and inspectors issuing written and verbal warnings, the firm made no significant or lasting improvements."

The company was ordered to pay fines of £400 per offence, totalling £6,400, and Ali, as owner, was fined £250 per offence, £4,000.

Itemised costs of the prosecution were awarded in full, which, along with victims' support charge, totalled £17,762.50.


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