Polish store fined for failing to label goods in English
A Berwick-based company, Little Poland Ltd, has been prosecuted for failing to correctly label food on sale, in this case, in English.
The Bridge Street store sells a wide range of Polish foods, both packaged and loose.
During an inspection in July 2018, Trading Standards officers from Northumberland County Council found that an amount of the food and drink items in the store were not labelled in English as required under current food labelling requirements and as a result of this the business was issued with a Food Improvement Notice.
Over a six-month period of monitoring, the business failed to make any substantial improvements to its labelling. A second Food Improvement Notice was issued which was not complied with and a decision was made to take the matter to court.
Last Tuesday, the director of the company appeared before Berwick magistrates and after pleading guilty to four offences that breached the Food Safety Act 1990, the company was given a fine totalling £1,800 and ordered to pay £1,822.74 in costs, making the total financial penalty £3,622.74.
Philip Soderquest, head of housing and public protection at Northumberland County Council, said: “This fine sends a strong message to the trade that the courts take these issues very seriously. An absence of clear labels on food produce means people may be unaware of what the product is, the ingredients in the food, any instructions for use, storage conditions and durability dates.
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“The company was given adequate time to rectify the problem, but it failed to act and comply with the Food Improvement Notices it was issued with. While we aim to support businesses, not prosecute them, we also have a duty to protect the safety of the public and ensure that there is a level playing field for businesses to comply with the law.”
Customers who have bought food that they are concerned about should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
Any business which produces and, or retails food is advised to make themselves aware of the food labelling requirements.
Guidance on food labelling requirements can be found on the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk or contact Northumberland Trading Standards on 01670 623870.