Mansfield shopkeeper banned after selling food past its use-by date

The Saulite store in Mansfield was found to have breached food safety and hygiene laws.
The Saulite store in Mansfield was found to have breached food safety and hygiene laws.

A woman has been banned from managing food businesses after her Mansfield shop was found to be selling items well past their use-by date.

Elita Zvingule, 54, ran the Saulite store on Wood Street. But when health inspectors from Mansfield District Council carried out an inspection, they found 32 unsafe items, including meat and cheese, which should not have been on sale.

It wasn’t the first time Zvingule had been in trouble for her operations at the shop, which she has owned since April, 2015. And the case against her was considered so serious that it was transferred to Nottingham Crown Court because Mansfield Magistrates’ Court felt that its sentencing powers were not sufficient.

She admitted a charge of placing food on the market that was unsafe, and Judge John Burgess imposed a hygiene prevention order on her, which represents an indefinite ban on any involvement in the management of a food business. She cannot apply for at least six months for the ban to be lifted.

Zvingule was also sentenced to a 12-month community order and told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work. She was ordered to pay £2,739.57 to cover the cost of the council’s prosecution too.

The judge said the shopkeeper had been reckless as well as having a slack attitude. He added that he sympathised with the view of many that she should be jailed after the court was told she had been warned twice before about selling products past their use-by dates. At different premises in 2012 and 2013, Zvingule had been given a caution and served with a hygiene improvement notice, said the prosecutor for the council, Emma Goodall.

Furthermore, she had been convicted in January 2016 for distributing 1,300 illicit and dangerous cigarettes at Saulite and handed a prison sentence of eight weeks, which was suspended for 12 months. For breaching the suspended sentence, Zvingule was fined £20 and ordered to pay a statutory surcharge of £85.

After the hearing, the council’s portfolio holder for public protection, Coun Mick Barton, expressed his satisfaction at the outcome.

“We will not tolerate any food outlet ignoring hygiene rules and regulations,” said Coun Barton. “We will use all our powers and legal enforcement to ensure businesses keep to the guidelines. Our job is to protect the public’s safety at all times.”