A Birmingham wholesaler has been fined for offering for sale rotten fruit and vegetables that failed to meet minimum quality standards.
Four Season Exotic Limited was fined over £3,500 at Birmingham Magistrates Court, following an investigation by the Rural Payments Agency’s (RPA) Horticultural Marketing Inspectors (HMI).
The hearing took place on 22 December 2015. A second hearing had been due to take place on 4 January 2016 but guilty pleas were accepted by the court on 31 December 2015.
Four Season Exotic Limited was fined £800 for the offences, £2,709.95 costs and a £40 victim surcharge.
An HMI inspection conducted on 25 February 2015 found two regulated displays in breach of the EU marketing rules for fresh produce quality which included orange sweet peppers found being offered for sale in a rotten condition.
Paul Caldwell, RPA operations director said: "The RPA’s HMI pursue criminal prosecution as a last resort when all other attempts to gain the compliance of traders have failed.
"It is important that consumers have confidence and are reassured that they are buying good quality fresh produce which is accurately labelled. We will not hesitate in taking all necessary steps to ensure that they do."
The prosecution followed a series of risk-based enforcement visits and inspections, carried out by HMI between February 2014 and February 2015.
Concerted efforts were made by the HMI to work closely with Four Season Exotic director Jaffer Mohammad with face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the company.