£5,000 fine

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146 items of food totalling 883 days beyond their marked use by dates discovered

A convenience store has been slapped with a fine over £5,000, after officers paid them a visit following a tip-off that it was selling banned vodka.

A complaint about East Euro Food Centre on Whetley Lane, Bradford led inspectors to carry out some investigations into the products that the shop was selling.

At the time officers found 23 bottles of a product branded as ‘Redwood Vodka’, found to not be vodka. In addition to this, also found were 146 items of food totalling 883 days beyond their marked use by dates and numerous food items found to not be labelled in English.

Bradford Magistrates court imposed a fine of £2,200, costs of £2,856 and victim surcharge of £220 against East Euro Food Centre.

The store, owned by Shirazi Cash & Carry Ltd was fined £1,100 plus £110 victim surcharge and £1,428 costs. The director of the company; Esmaeil Rajabie was fined £1,100 plus £110 victim surcharge and £1,428 costs.

The vodka was analysed by the Public Analyst and found to not be the substance demanded. The ‘Redwood Vodka’ was found to contain isopropanol and tertiary butanol, neither of which are found in alcohol of agricultural origin. It was also found to be 4.5 per cent below the required minimum strength for vodka.

Food displayed for sale should bear a “use by” or a “best before” date. Food bearing a ‘use by’ date presents a severe risk to human health if consumed beyond the marked date so it is vital shops carry out regular checks to remove out of date food from sale. In order to protect human health it is an offence to sell food beyond the marked ‘use by’ date.

At Bradford Magistrates, Mr Rajabie, in his mitigation stated that some of the blame had to be put on his suppliers for supplying the store with short date goods products not labelled in English. However he accepted that as the owner of the shop it was their responsibility to ensure that all goods sold were legitimate.

David Lodge, head of Trading Standards in West Yorkshire, said: “Due to the number of days the food was found past its use by date, it is clear stock was not regularly checked.

“Items not labelled in English also makes it impossible for a vast number of customers to know what is in the food that they are purchasing. This could have dire consequences if allergens are present. Describing a product as one thing, as in this case vodka and supplying something that isn’t that product is not only misleading, but could pose consequences to public health.”

Mr Ahmandreza Zaraie, the manager of the store who it is alleged was responsible for the purchase of the vodka is due to appear at court in June 2014.

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