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Mouldy patties were kept in broken fridge in Swindon grocery
MOULDY patties unfit for consumption and ‘refrigerated’ at 22 degrees were sold by two Swindon shopkeepers, who must now pay over £7,000 in fines and court costs.
Golam Choudhury, 31, of Sheppard Street, and Shamsuddoha Choudhury, 34, of Broad Street – co-owners of Baraka Groceries in Lagos Street – pleaded guilty to four food hygiene offences at Swindon Magistrates Court yesterday.
Relating to the sale of five vegetable patties on August 10, 2012, the pair were guilty of failing to maintain the cold chain, displaying the products in a refrigerator reading 22 degrees, failing to keep the patties refrigerated, and placing unsafe food on the market.
One complainant reported five patties he had bought from the store, before Swindon Council went ahead with further investigations of procedures in place at the shop.
As a result of yesterday’s hearing, the pair were each fined £500 for each of the four offences, with a further £3,299.50 in court costs and £100 victim surcharge between them. They must each pay a total of £3,699.75 within 28 days or arrange a payment rate with the court.
The Jamaican vegetable patties were found to have a use-by date of August 2, eight days before they were purchased, and needed to be stored between zero and five degrees.
Rosie Heath, prosecuting on behalf of Swindon Council, said: “The complainant returned to the store looking for a refund on the day following his purchase. He was offered just £1 after a purchase amounting to £5.
“A public analyst returned the results of an inspection of the patties and said they were either stored inappropriately, for too long outside their temperature control, or both. The patties were so contaminated with extraneous matter they would not be expected to be considered fit for human consumption.”
After being cautioned, the pair revealed they were both aware the products needed to be stored at temperatures below five degrees.
Golam Choudhury told investigators the refrigerator had broken the day before the complainant purchased the patties and repairs were soon to be carried out on it.
In mitigation for himself and his co-defendant, Shamsuddoha Choudhury said: “We have run this business since 2009. We are dealing with more sensitive food than simple patties – fresh meat and chicken, and dairy products – and we have never had any other problems.
“We feel bad for that. As a family person I won’t sell something which I wouldn’t feed to my children, family or myself.
“I am extremely sorry for this event, but we have dealt with 5,000 orders in our time and never had any other problems.
“This one was not our negligence, it was just a mistake, which happens in human life. This sort of mistake won’t happen again in the future.”