Trader fined for offering out of date food for sale

Alert message sent 11/04/2019 10:52:00

Information sent on behalf of Slough Council

A shop owner and manager, who had food for sale up to 12 days past its use by date despite two previous warnings, have been fined more than £6,000 by a district judge.

Reduced price stickers had even been stuck over some use by dates on yogurt, salad, ready meals and pies, which were on sale between one day and 12 days out of date.

Slough Borough Council’s Trading Standards team found the 16 items after inspecting the store for a third time in 10 months. Products past their use by dates were being offered for sale at a reduced price on each occasion.

Despite confiscating the food, warnings and advice given to director Jayachandra Yadapalli and manger Ashok Pothugunta, of the NISA Local, in Park Street, Poyle, the products should not have been offered for sale.

The court was told the shop and its owners were visited in October 2017 where three chocolate desserts were found which were beyond their use by date by three days. The food was removed from sale and a warning issued.

The officer revisited the store in January 2018 to ensure the warning had been heeded and found six packs of frankfurters offered as “reduced for quick sale” whilst  three days past their use by dates. The officer seized the food and issued a further warning.

In June 2018, a Trading Standards officer was conducting a routine inspection under the Food Safety Act when he discovered a further 16 items of food past their use by dates.

Mr Yadapalli, 36, of Denton Way, Upton, and Mr Pothugunta, 39, of Edgeworth Close, Langley St Mary’s, both admitted charges of placing on the market unsafe food past its use by date under the Food Safety and Hygiene Regulations 2013, when they appeared before Reading Magistrates’ Court last Friday (5 April). To sell or possess for sale food past its use by date is a criminal offence and is a matter of food safety as they can be microbiologically unsafe to consume.

MRGN Trading Ltd was fined £4,000, Mr Yadapalli as a director of MRGN Trading Ltd was fined £2,000 and Mr Pothugunta was fined £250 by a district judge. A total of £3,690 was awarded in costs and each was asked to pay a victim surcharge totalling £300.

The district judge said: “The culpability is high in this case. There was a clear failure to put into place adequate measures to prevent the breaches.

“There was a wide range of customers who use the shop, some could have been young or old and therefore more vulnerable and susceptible to adverse effects if they had consumed the out of date products.

“The fact that on some of the items the reduction stickers were placed over the use by dates makes it worse, as how were the customers to know that they represent a risk?”

Peter Adshead, senior trading standards officer, said the business had seemingly ignored both the previous warnings so were charged with two counts of possession for sale of food past the use by dates, one for each time out of date food was found after the initial warning.

He said: “The failure of the company, officers and staff to heed the previous warnings was one of the factors that influenced the decision to prosecute.

“This was as well as the fact that food past its use by date is dangerous for human consumption.

“Slough Borough Council will not hesitate to take action against any trader that offers potentially dangerous food for sale, for the protection of residents and law abiding businesses.”
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Kate Pratt (Slough Council, Communications Manager, Slough)

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