"Illegal and unsafe" food seized from a Watford grocery shop must be destroyed after borough council inspectors found it being sold.

Bonsu African and Caribbean food shop in St Albans Road was rated 1/5 for food hygiene, following which a monitoring inspection found the five portions of “Tribal Food Okra Soup - Beef” did not meet requirements.

St Albans Magistrates' Court granted a borough council application for it to be destroyed after officers deemed it "illegal and unsafe food for sale".

Yesterday (July 8) a Bonsu spokesperson admitted selling the soup was a "mistake" but said changes have now been made and there were no issues with its other products.

Bonsu in St Albans Road.Bonsu in St Albans Road. (Image: Newsquest) A borough council spokesperson said: “The food, a number of ready to eat meals, was illegal as it has not been made in an approved food manufacturing premises and there were issues with the information on the label. 

“This meant its safety could not be guaranteed, and it presented a risk to public health, so officers took action to remove it from sale.” 

Court files related to last month's hearing show the soup was in plastic containers with no weight, expiry date, approval identification, barcode or production batch code.

It comes after Bonsu was given a 1/5 food hygiene rating after inspection on February 27, when it was told its management of food safety needed ‘major improvement’.

Bonsu in St Albans Road.Bonsu in St Albans Road. (Image: Newsquest) The shop’s cleanliness was judged to be ‘good’ however, and its hygienic food handling was ‘generally satisfactory’. 

A borough council spokesperson added that the business had improved since the original inspection and officers would continue to monitor its progress.

They said: “The council always supports businesses who make efforts to keep the public safe and comply with the law, and as the public would expect, where businesses are not compliant, enforcement action will be taken to protect public health.”

Yesterday (July 8), a representative for Bonsu said selling the soup had been a “mistake” but that there were no issues with the rest of its products.

“I did not know about it and I took the soup, but they told me I’m not allowed to sell it,” they added. “That was the only food I took from a guy who came to sell it to me at the shop.

"We have sorted it out now and the rest of our food is canned."

The spokesperson said they have also made changes to the shop since the February rating, such as replacing the door, and hope their score will be changed when they are allowed a reinspection by the borough council.