Shopkeepers in West Yorkshire have been warned about selling dodgy food.

The warning follows the prosecution of a Kirklees couple for selling rotten, damaged and incorrectly labelled fruit and vegetables following an investigation by the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate.

Abdullah Dadipatel, 36, and Hawa Dadipatel, 35, of A and Z Dadipatel, based in Banks Street, Batley, admitted eight charges when they appeared at Wakefield and Pontefract Magistrates’ Court.

inspectors found rotting cauliflowers, severely bruised strawberries and labelling defect on courgettes, turnips, spring onions, spinach, Galia melons, oranges, Royal Gala apples and Packham’s Triumph pears.

The following month inspectors found spinach, spring onions, saragwo, guava, Fuji apples, peaches, Conference pears and lettuce which were all affected by rot. They also found bruised loquats and labelling defects on apples and nectarines.

The pair were each ordered to pay a £1,000 fine, £500 costs and a £100 victims’ surcharge.

Rotting vegetables bought in Batley
Rotting vegetables bought in Batley
 

Operations Director Paul Caldwell said: “This is another example of the work we carry out to protect consumers. They should be able to buy good quality fresh produce which is labelled correctly.

“We see prosecution as a last resort and always try to gain compliance with quality and labelling regulations through advice guidance and instruction.

“This particular store received four visits from inspectors between April 2013 and March 2014 where advice and guidance on compliance was offered. Poor quality produce was found on two of these occasions and inadequate labelling on every visit”.

Batley store prosecuted over rotting food
Batley store prosecuted over rotting food
 

The HMI is part of the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The Inspectorate is responsible for the enforcement of the EU marketing standards for fresh fruit, vegetables, salad crops, nuts and cultivated mushroom, throughout England and Wales, wherever fresh produce is grown, imported, exported, bought or sold.

Inspectors carry out regular checks on hundreds of food stores.

The ultimate sanction of prosecution is then used as a clear deterrent to others who may look to break the EU marketing rules in order to obtain an advantage over other commercial competitors.