Grimsby store sold food 33 days out of date
A SHOP owner has been left with a £1,200 court bill after selling packs of cheese that were 33 days past their use-by date.
He was also selling pasta salad a day after he should, and a judge warned that the food could have posed "a health risk to the public".
Bhupendra Patel, who runs Premier Extra, in Wellington Street, Grimsby, had been warned in the past about food safety, for selling sausage rolls and gammon that were out of date.
Today, he told the Telegraph: "I admit that it was my fault. It is my full responsibility to check the fresh stock and on that occasion, I failed. However, this was out of character and I take a lot of pride in my shop.
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"I only found out about this court case early last week, and I had already changed things. We check all the fresh stock first thing in the morning and then again in the evening, just in case anything has slipped through.
"I didn't try to fight it. I pleaded guilty and I am sorry that it happened but it was a one-off. Anyone who comes in the shop now can see how much care we take in how we run it."
Eve Richardson-Smith, prosecuting, told Grimsby Magistrates' Court that the offences were discovered after an officer from North East Lincolnshire Council went to the shop to give Patel advice on another matter and spotted the items in a chiller.
Five packs of 24 Deli cheddar wrapped in pepperoni were discovered to be 33 days past their use-by date of June 15.
A Meadow Fresh mature cheddar pasta salad was not fresh, and a day past its use-by date of July 18.
There had been no complaints by any members of the public about the items and nothing had been reported to the council by customers.
But bacteria potentially present in the food may have caused a risk to the health of customers if the items had been eaten, said Mrs Richardson-Smith.
There was no evidence at the shop of items being removed from display, staff inspections of food that was being sold, staff rotas or training records, she added.
Patel had twice been warned in the past about food hygiene, including in 2007 when out-of-date sausage rolls and gammon steaks had been found. He had also previously received a caution for food-related matters, the court heard.
Advice had been offered to him on ways he could improve his standards but with "no success", said Mrs Richardson-Smith.
She told the court that Patel owned the business but that it was his wife who usually worked in the shop.
Patel, a father-of-two, did not attend court, but pleaded guilty by letter of selling food on July 19 that was past its use-by date.
He explained to the court how he earned £380 a week and that his expenses included £180 a week rent.
He was fined £800 and was ordered to pay £400 costs and a Government-imposed £15 victims' surcharge.
Deputy district judge Sam Goozee told the court that the food on sale could have posed "a health risk to the public".
North East Lincolnshire Council has confirmed that the shop, when trading under its former name of Supersaver Express, failed two test purchases of underage sales of alcohol.
A licence review application has been submitted, and the council will review it in due course.