Rotting tomatoes

Bristol-based grocer Fruit & Veg Planet has been ordered to pay more than £14,500 for displaying, offering for sale and selling rotten fruit & veg.

Fruit & Veg Planet director Hazrat Mohammad Ahmadzai and store manager Janatgul Easakhil were both charged by Bristol Magistrates Court on 8 December 2016.

The charges followed a two-year investigation by the Rural Payments Agency’s horticultural marketing inspectors.

Ahmadzai and Easakhil both failed to appear before the court and were found guilty on all charges.

They were each fined £2,500, £1,342 costs and a £170 victim surcharge. The company was fined £5,000, £1,343 costs and a £170 victim surcharge.

A final HMI inspection conducted on 3 March 2016 found 12 displays in breach of the EU marketing rules for fresh produce quality and labelling, including rotten grapes and aubergines.

Alison Johnson, RPA operations director, said: “Concerted efforts were made by HMI to work closely with the business through face-to-face meetings, verbal warnings and formal written notices, all aimed at achieving improved compliance from the business.

“Unfortunately, such advice is not always heeded and when all other options have been exhausted we will resort to the use of criminal sanction to bring about a required change in behaviour.”