Belfast Telegraph

Judge: arrest Belfast store owner over 'unsafe' food

An arrest warrant has been issued for the owner of a supermarket in south Belfast for a string of food safety breaches including storing sausages in warm conditions and selling food that was unsafe.

Najmin Ali, who owns the Bangla Supermarket on the Ormeau Road, failed to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday where he faced 14 charges.

Belfast City Council brought the prosecution against Mr Ali, from Ava Crescent in the city, after a series of breaches were detected by environmental health inspectors between March 13, 2009 and March 23, 2009. A lawyer for the City Council described it as “one of the worst cases I have prosecuted in terms of the amount of offences that were detected”.

Some of the offences he was convicted of carry maximum penalties of six months’ imprisonment or fines of up to £20,000. Charges against him included selling unsafe food and failing to keep the premises clean and maintained. Mr Ali was also convicted of selling food with no details of supplier and inadequate labelling, such as displaying use by/sell by dates.

One of the charges was for “storing food (namely sausages) in such a way that supported the growth of pathogenic microorganisms or the formation of toxins, at a temperature above eight degrees centigrade”.

After hearing the council’s submissions, Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer said Mr Ali would be convicted of all the offences. Issuing the warrant, he added: “I have to have him here for sentencing in view of the fact there is a prison sentence available.”

A council spokeswoman said: “Belfast City Council is committed to protecting the health and safety of the public and we are pleased about today’s result.”

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