Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting TANEWS to 80360, or email
Sweets firm boss fined over labelling
A Bradford factory boss, fined for failing to put full food colouring warnings on Indian sweets it manufactured, confessed he would not feed them to his own children.
Talha Javeed, 26, of Pakeezah Sweets in Girlington Road, pleaded guilty to two food safety and food additive charges brought by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service when the case appeared before Bradford and Keighley Magistrates yesterday.
Magistrates were told that despite advice and warnings from an inspector, Javeed failed to label his Jalaibi and Ladoo sweets with a warning that they contained E110 Sunset Yellow and E102 Tartrazine which might have an adverse effect on children’s activity and attention.
Prosecutor Dennis Schulman said the two colours were among a group, known as the Southampton Six, that were identified in a 2007 report by researchers at Southampton University into the effects of food colourings on children.
In 2009 the colours became part of the Food Additives (England) Regulations and in June 2010 became law that the full warning about the effect they could have on children should be put on all labels of products containing them.
The court heard a trading standards inspector had advised Javeed before it became law that he would need to label his sweets with the warning and later sent out a reminder.
However, a routine inspection at Pakeezah Sweets in November 2010 revealed the sweets were still not properly labelled and another warning was sent.
In May last year Javeed sent Trading Standards amended and acceptable labels containing the warning but another routine inspection four months later found 51 packets of Jalaibi sweets packed and ready to go – which, although they had the additive details listed on them, still had no warning.
On the back of that discovery, the inspector visited a shop in Batley and found Ladoo supplied by Pakeezah Sweets for sale without the legally required warning.
When Javeed was questioned, he said he had not been able to afford to put new labels on and that his father had told him sales would drop if he put the warning on.
Mr Schulman said: “He (Mr Javeed) said he would not give the sweets to his children if it had the warning on and said ‘who chooses to buy it, chooses to buy it’.”
Magistrates fined Javeed a total of £800 and ordered him to pay £500 towards prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
After the case Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, said: “This is not just a technical labelling issue.
“The need to put the warning on labels is to help protect the health and safety of consumers, especially children who will be attracted to brightly coloured sweets and cakes. Mr Javeed appeared to put monetary concerns before the health and safety of people who would eat his products. There are alternative colours which can be used which do not require the special warning.”
After the case Javeed, who chose not to appear before magistrates, told the Telegraph & Argus it had been “a throw away comment” when he said he would not give the sweets with the colourings to his children.
“I do remember saying that but it was just a comment in conversation, just throw away.
“They are not the kind of sweets children would eat a lot of or go to the shop and buy themsleves. They are a ceremonial sweet, children would only have a little – that’s what I meant. The thing with the labels just happened. The full warning is now on the sweets.”
Bradford Councillor Val Slater, who is chairman of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, urged anyone who sees a food which has got any of the six colours in the ingredients list but does not carry the warning to report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0845 604 05 06.
She said “It is important that West Yorkshire Consumers are made aware if any food contains one or more of the ‘Southampton Six Colours’. They can then make an informed decision to give it to their children or not.”
The Pakeezah Group, which runs two supermarkets and a restaurant in Bradford, said it was not associated with Pakeezah Sweets, of Girlington Road, Bradford.