quality foods

The owners of the Quality Foods chain of supermarkets have spoken of their shock this week after they had their transport licence suspended for flouting driver and vehicle safety standards.

Traffic Commissioner Nicholas Denton suspended Quality Foods, which has supermarkets in Hounslow, Hayes, Ilford, Southall and Upton Park, from using its own fleet for three weeks until 26 September.

The decision follows a public inquiry last month, which heard that a Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency investigation had found that Quality Foods had failed to collect and check drivers’ hours and tachograph records to ensure employees worked within legal limits.

It found drivers had committed weekly rest offences after failing to take two consecutive days off, there were excessive gaps between routine safety checks on vehicles, numerous defects that should have been detected by drivers on vehicle safety inspection reports, prohibition notices for overloaded vehicles and the use of premises in Ilford and Spitalfields that the commissioner had not approved.

Denton said two of the partners, Arvind and Pius Sedani, who gave evidence, appeared to be “hazy” on the details of some of the measures taken to address the non-compliance, and said a culture of compliance needed to be instilled “from the top”.

Denton warned the business that a reoccurrence of the problems would almost certainly result in permanent revocation of the operating licence.

Vipul Sedani told The Grocer: “We’ve been trading 30-odd years. We didn’t expect this. Sometimes drivers make mistakes. We are making changes.”

He said the company was using third-party vehicles during the suspension period. “We are sorting this out.”