A WHOLESALER has been found guilty of supplying counterfeit vodka following an investigation by West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service.
Davison & Robinson Ltd of Aire Street, Castleford, where it trades as The Ale Seller, pleaded guilty to two offences under the Food Safety Act.
The product, wrongly labelled as Granton Vodka, which had been supplied to a local Fitzwilliam retailer, was analysed following a complaint to trading standards.
A member of the public who bought the vodka became suspicious, complaining it "didn't taste right". The liquid was found to contain double the permitted level of methanol, which meant that it did not meet required standards, although it was not considered to be unfit for consumption.
Davison & Robinson was unable to inform trading standards officers of the identity of its supplier, claiming that the vodka had been left by a customer who needed to make room on his vehicle to transport some fireworks.
Most of the vodka was seized by customs, but some had already been sold to a retail shop in Fitzwilliam.
A trading standards spokesman said: "It is a legal requirement that all food and drink wholesalers keep clear records of where their stock has come from and where it has been sold, so that contaminated or harmful food can then be quickly traced and withdrawn from sale.
Pontefract magistrates decided that the failure to keep records was a serious offence. The company was fined 1,500 for failing to keep records and 500 for supplying falsely labelled vodka. Legal costs including a victim surcharge amounted to a further 1,157.
Graham Hebblethwaite, of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: "It is vital that traders keep detailed records of their stock to ensure that the public will be kept safe in the unfortunate event that any product should need to be recalled. Traders need to be vigilant in this task."