Not in my gin and tonic!

Lemons which were deemed unfit for human consumption at JR News on Gibbet Street - the lemons were found on the morning the store owner Slavwomir Kowalczyk was in court charged with selling products past the sell by date.
Lemons which were deemed unfit for human consumption at JR News on Gibbet Street - the lemons were found on the morning the store owner Slavwomir Kowalczyk was in court charged with selling products past the sell by date.

A HALIFAX shop has admitted selling food past its sell-by date and unfit for human consumption.

Slavwomir Kowalczyk, 51, pleaded guilty to 32 counts of selling out-of-date food and two of selling food injurious to health.

Among the items unfit for humans were three mouldy lemons on “special offer” – one of which had turned totally green.

Chairman of the magistrates Susan Procter told Kowalczyk: “I certainly wouldn’t want one of those in a gin and tonic.”

She fined Kowalczyk £2,000 with £1,500 costs and told him: “Believe me, the fine we have imposed could have been much, much worse.”

Mark Thompson, chief of the environment at Calderdale Council, said: “We took this case due to the lack of improvements noted on many visits to the store.

“This case highlights the need for food businesses to regularly check their stock and take heed of guidance our officers give.”

Kowalczyk has run JR News on Gibbet Street, Highroad Well, Halifax, with his wife Jolanta since 1994.

Magistrates heard he had been visited by environmental health officers in August 2009 and February 2010.

Both times officers found food being sold beyond its sell-by date.

He was officially warned by letter, but officers visited again on November 8 and 12 last year and found 19 products beyond their shelf life, and two that were unfit for human consumption.

On the morning of this week’s court case, officers made another surprise visit and found three items past their sell-by date – and the three lemons

Kowalczyk, who has been living in the UK since the 1980s, said staff shortages meant he had failed to keep suitable records of best before dates .

Systems had now been put in place to make sure dates were properly checked, he said.

Clare Larton, mitigating, said that Kowalczyk had not been trying to make money at the expense of customers’ health.

“The items could have been returned to the supplier at no cost to him.“The items could have been returned to the supplier at no cost to him.

“It’s a mistake that has allowed some things to slip through the net.”

Of the mouldy lemons, Miss Larton added: “Things are not perfect – but they are getting there.”

Kowalczyk’s wife Jolanta had 21 charges against her dropped following Kowalczyk’s guilty pleas.