Out-of-date meat seized from west Hull deli
BAGS of out-of-date food have been seized from a mini-supermarket in west Hull.
Environmental health officers from Hull City Council's Food Safety Team discovered food unlabelled and past its use by date on the deli counter at Spinzarnia in Spring Bank.
Inspectors feared the ready- to-eat meat products could have been unwrapped for weeks rather than the few days advised by the manufacturer.
In total, 36 different items were seized, which are thought to have a value of about £200.
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Amin Ahmad, owner of Spinzarnia, admitted mistakes had been made but insisted the food seized had not exceeded its use by date.
"Mistakes were made by my staff but none of the food was out of date," he said.
"A lot of the meat was small cut-offs that had not been sold and, unfortunately, my staff did not re-label the products correctly."
Mr Ahmad, who has owned the shop for five months, said his staff will now undertake more training with regards to how to handle high-risk foods.
He said: "This is not about the money. I take full responsibility for my staff and I will make sure this does not happen again."
Mr Ahmad, 32, was not at the shop when officers from the council visited Spizarnia.
"My staff rang to tell me the council had arrived and would be taking away some products," he said. "When I got back to Hull, I went to the council to assure them the meat was in date.
"It was a complete shock to me that I was asked to attend court."
At a hearing at Hull Magistrates' Court on Friday, a condemnation order was issued for the destruction of the food.
Mr Ahmad challenged the seizure but the court ordered the meat, weighing 33kg, had to be destroyed.
The shop at 161 Spring Bank has now been ordered to make major improvements under the council's food hygiene rating scheme.
Trevor Todd, assistant head of service for public protection, said businesses have a duty of care and must follow food safety regulations.
"Selling food past its use-by date is illegal, poses a risk to the consumer and could cause food poisoning," he said.
"Manufacturers carry out various tests on food to determine its safe shelf life and provide a use-by date so that consumers can be confident it is safe to use within that time period.
"If a business knowingly sells or uses out-of-date food then staff from Public Protection will always investigate and, where necessary, will take formal enforcement action to protect public health."
The meat was formally seized using powers in the Food Safety Act 1990 and was removed from the shop in three bin bags.
Councillor John Hewitt, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and communities, said: "All of these food items were classed as high-risk foods and needed correct handling, care and suitable controls to be in place.
"It was clear to the environmental health officers that public health was at risk."
During the routine inspection, officers also found storage temperatures and conditions were not being monitored and there was no documented food safety management system in place.