Food & Drink

Rodent poop on bacon. Mold-like stuff on coleslaw. Inspections of retail food sellers

There’s not many ways to ruin bacon. Rodent poop makes the short list.

That’s the highlight of this week’s Gross Grocers, a listing of the Miami-Dade and Broward food sellers who got “re-inspection required” from the Florida Department of Agriculture inspector. That means the inspector saw, according to the inspection reports, “citations that pose a risk of foodborne illness.”

We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly they’re inspected. We list these without passion or prejudice, but with an express lane of humor.

Bravo Supermarket, 4000 SW 40th Ave., West Park — In the meat department, the inspector saw “pork tails and salted pork offered for customer self service.”

We’re sure each customer handled the food with hands that had been properly washed, not sneezed on, coughed on or used for genital readjustment immediately before that self-service.

Also, “food equipment and utensils being cleaned in three-compartment sink without being sanitized” is truly half-stepping on the job.

A missing consumer warning about bottled fresh-squeezed orange juice and no ingredient breakdown on seasoned chicken quarters got each yanked off the shelf. In the produce department and the meat processing room, the fans blew through dirty evaporator fan guards.

La Orquidea Grocery Discount, 98 W. 22nd St., Hialeah — Friday’s inspector saw in the kitchen area “employee coming in and out of area and handle open foods without washing hand first.”

This is a violation we saw all too often and is classified a Priority Citation, meaning one “directly associated with foodborne illnesses.”

Another handwashing problem at La Orquidea: “No paper towel or soap hand sink by the three-compartment sink.”

You might notice this is also a common problem: “Meat area, found old dry yellow residue on two slicers, band saw, grinder inside cutting room.”

Kind of makes you wonder about what covered that equipment during the time between this inspection and the most recent previous one, Nov. 1, 2016.

NS Northwest Quality Meat, 14025 NW 27th Ave., Opa-locka — Let’s start with problems out front, in the retail area, such as several bags of in-house cut collard greens kept at 57 degrees to 63 degrees in what was apparently a “reach-in cooler” in name only.

Those greens should be kept at 41 degrees or under. Seems like some slimy collards that got tossed there.

Also, in the food service area, the inspector found, “several bulk hams with no date marking” and the human in charge couldn’t say when they were opened. Since there was no telling when somebody broke out the Porky Pig parts, that’s all, folks.

In the processing area, the inspector saw both slicers carried old food residue and observed an ice-machine chute with soiled build up. But the real problem, as detailed in the comments section, was with the kitchen-restroom proximity.

“Restroom opening directly into processing area. Consultation with food establishment management indicated that the proposed completion date for the installation of the vestibule, will be in three months,” the inspection report reads. “Inspector will perform a check-back by 12/7/2018 to oversee progress of installation. If compliance is not achieved in the 90 days a corrective action (such as a stop use) will be issued.”

But, until then, there’s nothing but air between where they make the food and where you make your last disposal of food.

Presidente Supermarket, 1060 W 29th St., Hialeah — This is a re-inspection from Aug. 21. That inspection found poor handwashing, including a handwash sink obstructed by a counter top; “black mold-like residue” on the rim of the ice chute; and cooked onions, pork ribs, shredded pork, chicken thighs, pork roast, fried plantains, pork chunks, chicken quarters, tostones, boliche and mashed plantains getting tossed out for being kept at bacteria-building temperature.

And, well, there also wasn’t a splash guard between the handwashing sink and where the cookware dried. Nor between the deli area handwashing sink and the prep table with a slicer or between the air dry wing and the meat cutting table.

Speaking of washing things in a sink, the Aug. 21 inspector saw an employee washing cookware in an unclean sink.

Tuesday’s re-inspection wasn’t as bad.

Oh, they still don’t seem to grasp or care about all of the handwashing rules. There’s still no splash guard, so water from dirty hands could be splashing over onto things that make contact with food.

And the cooler in the salad section of the produce aisle was “in disrepair” so got a Stop Use order.

And there was filth — “kitchen area, baking pans, oven, stove top, deep fryer encrusted in grease and carbon buildup.”

And in the food service area, ham, cheese and sausage sandwiches; in the retail area, packs of romaine salad, double carrot salad, coleslaw, American salad and iceberg salad got tossed for not being kept cool enough.

But, overall, it was an improvement.

Sunoco/The Corner Deli, 1700 University Dr., Pembroke Pines — The first two violations say this place doesn’t have a certified food protection manager or an employee health policy. And that’s how you get to violation No. 3.

“Observed rodent excreta on raw bacon stored inside reach-in cooler.”

Ham, chicken and beef empanadas got tossed after they were kept at too cool a temperature. But, back to the “rodent excreta....”

“Observed rodent excreta on floors along walls, inside cabinetry and under equipment throughout deli area, warewash area; observed rodent excreta on floors along walls, underneath three-compartment sink and underneath prep tables throughout the warewash area.”

Where they sell food in the Sunoco, the inspector “observed rodent excreta on floors, along walls, underneath retail storage shelves, on shelves with displayed food items…”

We don’t want that one to get lost in the mix, so, let’s start again from that last clause…

“…on shelves with displayed food items and inside retail cabinetry throughout retail area.”

In the comments section, the inspector wrote, “The affected storage areas must be completely cleared of all merchandise, cleaned and sanitized by the next inspection; no other merchandise may be added to the storage area or a Broken Stop-use will be issued.”

“If evidence of pest infestation is observed on the next inspection, a Stop Use Order will be issued on all receiving areas of the establishment and the establishment will no longer be allowed to receive additional food items, a Stop Use Order of all processing equipment (if applicable) will be issued and a Stop-Sale order of all exposed food items (if applicable) will be issued until the infestation is eradicated.”

Total Food, 7777 NW 17th Ave., Miami — In the produce section, the inspector “observed multiple packages of romaine hearts lettuce and in-house package shredded coleslaw with mold-like substance.”

Also in the produce section, they tossed some collard greens that were 15 to 17 degrees too warm.

In the meat department, the band saw was “encrusted old food particles.” Like your mother said when you put your shoes on somebody’s furniture, do you do that at home? Then, why here?

Staying in the meat department, “observed multiple packages of open bulk hams with no date marking or date not known as per person in charge.” Out it goes.

In the backroom, the inspector saw “litter, trash , and old food particles underneath food pallets.” Cleanliness seemed a widespread problem as “Meat , backroom , produce processing , observed soiled walls throughout.”

Tropical Supermarket, 28945 S. Dixie Hwy., Homestead — This was a re-inspection from Aug. 17, an inspection that featured ham spread tossed out, no date on open deli meat packages that had been open more than a day and an “excessive amount on green mold-like grime accumulated in-between glass of cold deli and meat display case.”

Last week’s inspection featured “Food employees observed leaving the kitchen area to go into the walk-in cooler/freezer, to retail, to food service, without washing hands prior to engaging in food handling and preparation.”

And, on the slicer blade, “Old yellow food residue encrusted on slicer blade, housing, and food holding attachment joint.”

Guess “old yellow food residue” is better than “old brown food residue,” but not as satisfying as “properly cleaned.”

Y and J Cake Designs, 12541 W. Okeechobee Rd., Hialeah Gardens — Eggs sitting on the prep table were at 80 degrees. Ham and cheese were at 73 degrees. So, pretty much, South Florida room temperature.

Both are supposed to be at or under 41 degrees. Trashed.

In a walk-in cooler, the inspector saw racks of uncovered food under fan guards covered in dust. In the processing area, more basic cleanliness failures “old encrusted food residue through out blades of deli slicer, old encrusted food residue through large and small bakery mixer.”

Also, in the processing area, “no effective overhead protection over food preparation area where ready to eat foods are exposed to pipes above” and “heavy dust accumulation on air conditioning vents above prep tables and equipment.”

We close with “mold like residue throughout hand wash sink and cold and hot water fixture under coffee machine.”