Food & Drink

Which chain had moldy empanadas? And where did water leak on pork? Grocers get inspected

Norman Brothers Produce had a host of violations, according to a health inspection report.
Norman Brothers Produce had a host of violations, according to a health inspection report. Miami Herald File/2011

One of the stores on this Gross Grocers list racked up so many notable violations, we took an intermission while pulling the violations.

Stretched legs. Went to the bathroom. Got a drink of water. A shot of café Cubano.

So, get a snack and a colada ready as we dive into this list, compiled from state inspections of food sellers. The list of places isn’t long, but some of the rap sheets are.

B&L Bakery, 4015 NW Seventh St., Miami Unlike state restaurant inspections, state food seller inspections have a space where the inspector can give a general slamming of the manager, such as “person in charge does not ensure active managerial control as evidenced by the cross contamination prevention, hand washing, clean equipments and food contacts violations.”

That’s like saying, “The only thing I saw this person manage was a chunk of violations that better be fixed to stay in business.”

“Food service area, observed employee changed task and not wash her hands, leaving and entering the food service area without washing her hands continuing serving food to customer.” Also, “Processing area, employee handling dirty dishes and utensils and continuing processing food without washing his hands.”

And, maybe that’s why the inspector also saw in the processing area several things “stored as clean with evidence of old, dry food residues and dirt.”

There really wasn’t much clean in the food service or the processing area. Typical was the sandwich press machine had a “heavy accumulation of old grease and dry products residues” and a cutting board had “a buildup of mold and old products residue.”

Still in the processing area, the inspector saw “shelves for food storage and food utensils dirty with old product residue and dirt” and “food pot and pans with a heavy accumulation of grease and carbon buildup.”

Also in the processing area, “toilet room open directly to processing area.”

Also, “floor dirty with old product residue, mold and trash.”

The three-compartment sink was “dirty inside with mold and grease.”

Are container tops being lost like socks in the dryer? “Processing area, observed food containers not properly covered on top of table. Also, back room, observed cooked pork inside plastic container uncovered inside walk-in cooler.”

The inspection summary says there’s a re-inspection in 14 days from the Sept. 13 visit because of pests, but we didn’t find a pest violation noted.

Beehive Natural Foods of Miami, 6490 Bird Rd., West Miami-Dade — At The Hive, things were just a little too natural Wednesday for the inspector’s taste.

“At the food service area, observed food employees not washing unclean hands before starting dish washing tasks.”

And that’s a problem, because “At the food service area, observed food contact utensils and equipment not been sanitized after cleaning, establishment was not properly preparing the sanitizer solution…”

Also, from the food service area, “observed tracking powder on floor along walls and cabinets…”

Tracking powder is a rodenticide.

Farm Stores, 9601 SW 160th St., South Miami-Dade — The only good thing about a filthy Farm Stores, of course, is no customers stroll its aisles.

This one had a problem Wednesday in the “processing area — blue and white mold-like growth found on mini-chicken empanadas inside the reach-in cold unit beneath the oven.”

That was caused by the “Avantco reach-in cold unit beneath the oven housing empanadas, prepackaged sandwiches, found in disrepair.” The manager “removed all temperature dependent products from unit and will only be using it for breads and other items that do not require temperature control.”

A new violation! “Drinking water not obtained from an approved source that is constructed, maintained, and operated according to law…” as in “No water bill available during inspection. Food establishment has 30 calendar days to provide a water bill, not older than three months, showing water and sewer services.”

And, this Farm Stores location was “operating without a 2018 food permit.”

La Mas Barata Supermarket Discount, 5425 W. 20th Ave., Hialeah — They’re in hot water mainly for having no hot water.

The inspector noticed the water heater wasn’t working properly. So, the inspector also noticed that meant “Back area, no hot water at hand sink inside employee toilet room.” And “food service area, no hot water at hand sink by three-compartment sink or hand sink by coffee maker.”

Just to be clear, “hand sink” is the handwashing sink, the sink that’s supposed to be exclusively for handwashing.

So, it’s kind of a problem that there were “No papers towels or soap at the handwashing sink by the oven.”

Some ham got tossed out after being kept at too warm a temperature, also.

La Mas has 30 days to get the hot water problem fixed before they get scalded on the re-inspection.

Meat Giant, 27455 S. Dixie Hwy., Homestead — When you get “Re-Inspection Required” on the re-inspection from a previous inspection, maybe consider closing for a day and teaching some folks how to use a sponge.

Or, soap and a sink.

“Food employees observed not washing hands prior to donning new gloves to engage in food handling for customers, and after entering/exiting the processing areas.”

When buying eggs, we expect one or two broken eggs somewhere among all those cartons. But “multiple cracked, leaking raw shell eggs found inside various cartons inside the retail cold unit” was a problem.

Also, this seems to invite bad bacteria: “multiple open packages of luncheon meats found with date marks allowing 10-day limits, instead of seven.”

This is even worse: “Water found leaking onto the raw pork chunk tray inside the reach-in cold unit. All food items were removed from this area and leak was corrected.”

In the aforementioned inspection, on Aug. 21, the cracked eggs were a problem, as was “observed employee throwing frozen conch meat onto the floor.”

Norman Brothers Produce, 7681 SW 87th Ave., South Miami-Dade — After Norman Brothers’ first inspection since October 2016, we hope inspector Laura Sanchez stopped someplace for a hand massage and charged the state Department of Agriculture.

Sanchez’s hands handled the Homeric task of chronicling an epic odyssey of filth on Sept. 17.

Like B&L Bakery’s manager above, Norman Brothers’ manager got called out with “person in charge does not ensure active managerial control as evidenced by the cooling, hand washing, glove usage, cross contamination and unclean equipment violations.”

Let’s start with the roaches.

“Oven room, observed both small (German) roaches and regular roaches on floors around both ovens and inside the proofer. Bread room, observed live regular-sized roaches on floors under the large divider along the wall. Stop use order issued.”

Also in the bread room, “observed moths flying around bottom of bread divider.”

Now to the food.

Sanchez said “various dead clams stored commingled with live clams labeled and sold as live.” Staying with seafood, “Parasite destruction or letters of guarantee not provided for raw shrimp used in ceviche salad,” so the ceviche salad got tossed.

An employe was spotted sticking an unsanitized probe thermometer inside cooked chicken breasts. Out went those breasts.

In the retail area, multiple salads and sandwiches were kept at too warm a temperature. The sandwiches got taken back to the walk-in cooler. The Caesar salad, Greek salad and tossed salad got, well, tossed. Same for the cantaloupe halves, crenshaw halves and watermelon quarters.

Hot prepared foods area, multiple food items measured out of safe storage temperature. Some things — turkey loaf, barbecue beef, vegetable mix, meat loaf, fish fillets, etc. — got reheated. The beef, chicken, spinach, and ham and cheese empanadas at the juice bar found the trash.

Neither the bakery area nor the deli area had handwashing sinks. “Establishment has 30 calendar days to install a handsink in each area with hot and cold running water and proper drain.”

In the hot kitchen, Sanchez saw “multiple food employees using the same gloves while handling various tasks including; exiting and entering the area, touching face, arranging their hairnet while wearing the same gloves.” Which kind of defeats the purpose of the gloves.

Now, for Norman Brothers’ cleaning problems:

“Two in use deli slicers with old yellow encrusted food residue on blade and on push tool attachment, and one in use slicer past the four-hour mark still in use without being cleaned properly as required.”

In the meat room, “In-use slicer past the four-hour mark still in use without being cleaned properly. Old brown/yellow food encrusted on blade and behind the wheel of the band-saw. Table top grinder found with old food inside the canal.”

Sanchez also spotted, “Storage rack, prep table legs and bottom shelf with yellow and brown old food residue.”

In the cold kitchen, “table mounted can opener found with encrusted old food residue and heavy soil” and “encrusted carbon buildup on pots and pans, old food residue on outer shell of rice cooker.”

Also, in the cold kitchen, “prep table’s bottom shelves and legs, cleaned equipment rack with stuck on dust and soil residue.”

At the juice bar, “mold-like stains and slime visible on ice rack/maker of interior of ice machine.” She dropped a stop-use order on that.

Still at the juice bar, “bottom shelf of reach-in cold unit with visible soil. Underside to ice cream/yogurt machine encrusted in old brown/food residue. Underside of coffee machine with stuck on old food residue. Back wall of juicer housing single use cups with old platter juice residue.”

While we take a break, we must ask is there a dishwashing machine in the house? Some Palmolive and a scrubbing sponge?

Perhaps the answer comes as we resume with the sandwich station, “soil and stuck on food residue on exterior of sandwich station doors, covers and handles.” And the panini sandwich press was “encrusted in old grease residue.”

And Sanchez wasn’t sweet on the pastry room.

“Various baking pans and bowls with visible food residue stored as clean.” “Underside of floor mixer with encrusted old dough residue.” “Strawberry station, waffle maker encrusted in old grease buildup.” “Encrusted carbon buildup on baking pans and bowls.”

“The prep table’s legs, bottom shelf with soil residue, food/supply storage rack and cleaned equipment rack shelves with stuck on dust and soil residue.”

In the hot kitchen, “buffalo chopper was found with old food residue inside the bowl.” There was also, “grease build up on stove, flat grill, and ovens, in between the appliances, and around the back wall of the deep fryer.”

In the bread room, “old food residue on exterior parts of various equipment (sheeter, divider, mixers), rolling food racks with visible soil and carbon buildup.”

And, sing the chorus: “prep table legs and bottom shelves, food storage rack and cleaned equipment rack with stuck on dust and food residue.”

Super Buffet Bakery, 2267 NW 28th St., Miami — Despite being in the walk-in cooler for four days, the flan’s temperature was 54.5 degrees Fahrenheit. The ground beef from the previous day was at 49.5 degrees.

They need to be under 41 degrees. Basura, baby.

Those working in the food processing area had a handwashing sink without hot water. In the food service area, “old, dry yellow product residue on slicer.”