The man behind a Hull company that tried to sell meat products weeks past their use-by date has been hit with a fine of more than £4,000.
Mr Jegarkwin Mehkow, director of Hull Store International Food Limited, trading as Four Seasons, Anlaby Road, appeared at court on July 8, pleading guilty to a series of offences.
Officers from Hull City Council’s Trading Standards team visited Four Seasons in December 2018.
During the routine inspection, they found several meat products for sale that were well past their use-by date – the longest by 25 days.
Pricing stickers had been placed over the dates to hide them from customers.
As officers waited in a queue to speak to the shop assistant working that day, they also witnessed the sale of five pouches of illegal tobacco, which were seized.
When officers went back to the shop in March this year for a follow-up visit, they found more packs of out-of-date food for sale.
When interviewed, Mr Mehkow claimed the food had been “mistakenly” put on sale and that he had instructed staff to get rid of the tobacco, but they had “misunderstood him and sold it instead”.
Appearing at Hull Magistrates’ Court on July 8, Mr Mehkow pleaded guilty to offences under the Food Safety Act and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations. He was fined a total of £4,198 including court costs.
Councillor Mike Thompson, portfolio holder for public protection, said: “People need to know the food they buy is safe to eat. It is completely unacceptable for a retailer to try to pass off severely out-of-date products like this, putting anyone who consumed it at risk.
“Our Trading Standards officers take offences like these seriously, as do the courts – the fine imposed on Mr Mehkow reflects this.”
“We offer a range of support and advice to business owners to ensure they meet necessary standards, but when they not only fail to take the most basic steps to protect customers, but actually attempt to deliberately mislead them into buying unsafe food, we will take action and use all our powers to stop them.
“In terms of the sale of illegal tobacco, it can seem to some people like a victimless crime but this is absolutely not the case. Illegal tobacco funds organised crime, attracts children and young people to smoking and prevents people quitting”.
If you suspect illegal tobacco is being sold in your community, report it anonymously here or call 0300 999 0000.
If you have concerns about food you have bought or seen for sale, call Trading Standards on 0345 4040506.