A SHOP owner has been slapped with a £6,400 bill for breaching EC rules on quality and labelling.
Mohammed Ilyas runs A & A Foods, Mayfield Grove, Halifax, and pleaded guilty to nine separate breaches of EC marketing standards for fresh horticultural produce.
They were Spanish courgettes, loquats, strawberries, and nectarines (quality defects); and conference pears, Maroc Late oranges, Royal Gala apples, spring onions and apricots (on display with labelling defects).
He was fined a total of £3,100 for the offences. Costs totalled £3,300 and a £15 victims’ surcharge brought the total to £6,415.
Chairman of Calderdale magistrates Timothy Taylor-Wilson said: “This was a thoroughly justified investigation brought about by the Rural Payments Agency.”
It works with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to uphold standards and carries out inspections.
The prosecution followed a series of risk-based enforcement visits between June 2010 and June 2011 during which it said advice and guidance was given. RPA operations director Paul Caldwell said verbal warnings and formal written notices failed to bring about improvements.
“As a last resort and in the interests of the consumer and the fruit and vegetable industry, we had to prosecute,” he said.
Qasim Ilyas, 17, said his father had run the business for two years and the fine and costs would set it back. He added that an ex-employee, now sacked, failed to inform his father of ongoing problems.
“There will not be a repeat,” he said.