A shopkeeper has been hit with a legal bill of almost £3,000 after it was found he was selling food products that were out of date.
Mohammad Sharif, 29, of Chadwick Road, Bobbers Mill, runs the Iced Fire off-licence on Laurie Avenue in Hyson Green, where City Council food safety officers discovered food for sale that was beyond its Use By date.
Use By dates, unlike Best Before dates which indicate quality of the produce, show when fresh food stops being safe to consume. When officers visited the premises in January, September and October last year, they discovered some goods, including sausages and yoghurt, that were up to 17 days beyond their Use By dates. This presented the possibility that even though the products were in fridges, they could be carrying food poisoning organisms.
Mr Sharif had previously been advised by officers that checks needed to be carried out to remove out-of-date stock and prevent unsafe food being offered for sale. Officers also noted during their September visit that some food for sale was not labelled in English. They issued an Improvement Notice requiring Mr Sharif to re-label all pre-packed food items with mandatory food information, such as storage and cooking instructions and allergen advice, in English by 4th October 2020. On 5th October 2020, six product lines were found which had no mandatory food information in English.
Food found at the shop was seized by the officers and taken to Nottingham Magistrates Court where condemnation orders were granted. Magistrates also ordered Mr Sharif to pay £2,986 in fines and legal costs.
They heard that Mr Sharif was remorseful and had made full and frank admissions during his interview and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and that he no longer sold European food items. The court also heard, on Wednesday 7th April, that Mr Sharif had reviewed procedures so that food is not displayed or sold past its use by date, involving two daily stock checks.
Nottingham City Council’s Chief Environmental Health Officer, Paul Dales, said: “Shopkeepers are putting the health and safety of their customers at risk if they display and sell food past its Use By date – it could lead to food poisoning which in the worst cases could be fatal.
“It’s also important that customers can read and understand mandatory food information such as cooking, storage and allergen advice – if they can’t it not only affects consumer choice but also could lead to serious health issues.
“This case shows that we will take appropriate action, up to and including prosecution, to protect the Nottingham public from this sort of risky practice.”