A retailer in Leeds has been ordered to pay a hefty fine after more than 20 breaches of European fruit and veg standards.

Noshi Foods International Ltd’s director Mohammed Yasin and company secretary Ifthikar Hussain each pleaded guilty to a total of 23 separate breaches of the EC marketing standards for fresh produce for quality and labelling offences at Leeds Magistrates’ Court.

As a result of their breaches, Yasin and Hussain were fined a total of £23,000. The prosecution were also awarded full costs of £8,014, giving a total liability of £31,014.

Horticultural Marketing Inspections (HMI) brought the prosecution against the firm trading at Harehills Road, Leeds, for displaying and offering for sale lemons, Conference pears, cauliflower, courgettes, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms and garlic of sub-standard quality.

In addition, strawberries, apples, lemons, Conference pears, cabbage, garlic, mushrooms, leeks, aubergines and avocado pears were all found with labelling defects.

The prosecution followed a series of risk-based enforcement visits, including conformity check inspections.

Repeated inspection visits were carried out by HMI Inspectors over a 13-month period between May 2008 and June 2009, providing initial advice and guidance, culminating in more formal warnings and instruction.

Concerted efforts were made by the HMI to work closely with the firm’s sales staff and management; this included face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and the issue of formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the company.

In passing sentence, the court recognised the firm had been offered ample opportunity to improve its compliance with these regulations but had clearly failed to do so.

Noshi Foods International could not be reached for comment.