Food & Drink

Rat pee stains chocolate at Family Dollar. Grocers get inspected — and a Publix fails

A Publix supermarket
A Publix supermarket Miami Herald File

In the weeks since our last “Gross Grocers” report, only six food sellers in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties failed inspections. But the ones that did, failed with either major violations or major names, including Publix and Family Dollar.

We do not control who gets inspected or how strictly the Department of Agriculture people cite establishments.

(Side note: South Florida institutions Laurenzo’s in North Miami Beach and Norman Brothers Produce in South Miami-Dade have rebounded from failing inspections to pass re-inspections, eventually).

Here are the latest citations and the details:

Aroma Market, 9200 Glades Rd., Boca Raton — The Oct. 8 inspection started this way: “No policy and procedures in place to handle vomit and diarrhea events. Provided norovirus guidance.”

Is this a regular problem at Aroma? Maybe it is if you chow down on the food cut with meat department “knives with dried-on food buildup.” Also, there was ground beef and ground turkey processed in the grinder “without sanitizing between species.” And meat was thawing on the counter at room temperature.

Not helping the cleanliness is “no hand soap at hand sink during time of inspection.”

Once the inspector put the thermometer to the food, Aroma had to toss cashew chicken, hamburgers, baked chicken, chicken salad and coleslaw prepared the previous day and kept at too warm a temperature. Same for melons cut the day before.

Charitin Bakery, 5751 W. Flagler St., Miami — The inspector called out the management with this note: “Person in charge does not ensure active manager control as evidenced by the following violations: approved source, handwashing, unclean equipment and cross contamination.”

Such was the case on Sept. 21. Several containers of homemade “Calabaza China” dessert were in the reach-in cold case. Homemade stuff is fine for home, school and church pot luck dinners — but is a no-no in retail. As far as handwashing, In the bakery, employees were “changing tasks, entering and exiting the area, touching hair/face, working with raw dough, cooking and preparing foods and not washing hands at all.” Minus the raw dough, the same was happening in the food service area.

Also amid the no-handwashing issue in the bakery room, “food employee touched sheet cake with fingers on two sides when placing pan in rolling rack.” That put the sheet cake on the “Toss It” list. The bakery room handwashing sink was blocked by a pastry rack and the food service handwashing sink was loaded with sponges, scouring pads and wet rags.

The inspector saw “various containers of uncovered cakes on top shelf inside walk-in cooler.”

There was also old cane residue on the cane juicer on a roller blade. The lunch meat slicer had food residue. The mixers had “encrusted old dough residue on the underside of mixer blame attachment and sheeter encrusted in old dough residue around the roller corner and on the top guard. “Baking pans encrusted in grease and carbon buildup, not washed every day.”

In addition, food was thrown out for being under 135 degrees: mini meat pastries meat pastries, egg omelet, chorizo croquettes inside the hot holding unit. In the bakery room, the meat pastries on the rack by the handwashing sink just undershot the target temp by a mere 48 degrees.

Here’s the food thrown out for being over 41 degrees: ham spread, sliced regular ham, sliced Swiss cheese, ham and cheese empandas, mini ham and cheese sandwiches, several ham and cheese sandwiches, a gallon of milk, rice pudding and flan.

A stop-use order was dropped on the walk-in cooler.

The sliced ham, ham spread and ham empanadas would’ve been thrown out anyway because they didn’t have any date markings and were more than 2 days old.

And then there was “two large pieces of raw pork thawing inside the wash basis of warewash sink” at room temperature. In the bakery room, prep table legs and everything from the roller to the racks were “found with heavy dust, food residue and soil matter.”

The employee restroom has no ventilation and no hot water at the handsink. So, you hope nobody had to do No. 2 before going back out to serve food.

A direct connect exists at the warewash sink in the bakery room. If it’s still there in 90 days, the warewash sink and all food service will get hit with a stop-use order.

And Charitin didn’t have a valid 2018 food permit. Charitin passed its re-inspection last Wednesday.

Family Dollar, 1199 Hypoluxo Rd., Lantana — Wednesday’s inspection report noted no hot water in the employee women’s restroom. And the inspector “observed several candies, chips, sunflower seeds, granola, packaged cereal chewed through…”

The inspector also found “feces and urine stains throughout retail area on products such as marshmallows, chips, chocolate bars, sunflower seeds, cereal, granola, etc. Observed feces under and on top of shelves throughout retail area, even in aisles without food.

“Nesting material can be found in the back right corner of the retail area. This is there evidence of rub marks were noted. Rub marks lead to open space above walls of establishment. It is thought this is their nesting area.”

In the backroom, there were “feces and urine stains in office, restrooms, break room and mop room.”

Also, “rodent movement can be heard through the ceiling in the breakroom and restroom.”

And, then, out in the store, “Two dead rats found stuck to glue traps observed during inspection.”

There was a hole in a restroom wall where the inspector found nesting material.

“Stop Sales” were dropped on all the food.

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Kwik Stop, 1741 N. Dixie Hwy., Pompano Beach — The inspector spotted roaches inside the air conditioner handler room on Oct. 2. That means a re-inspection Monday or Tuesday.

But Kwik Stop owners also needed to call the plumber before the exterminator.

The inspector saw a “Direct connection exists at three-compartment sink’s drain line. All equipment used to prepare, hold or store food or clean equipment or utensils must be indirectly plumbed within 30 days.

“All food equipment will be placed under Stop Use order and food service will be placed under Stop Sale order.”

In other words, until Kwik Stop gets that fixed, it’s out of the food business.

Next to that, taking care of “Dried food particles built up underside of prep table” and “several dusty display shelves” in the retail area seem like cleaning your room on a Saturday morning.

Publix, 8601 NW 186th St., Northwest Miami-Dade — The bakery department didn’t have a good day on Oct. 8. An employee got caught changing tasks, but “not washing hands before donning new gloves to …work with ready-to-eat foods.”

The “mechanical pan washer machine that uses hot water to sanitize does not reach 160 degrees as required by law.”

Meat didn’t didn’t have a good day, either.

The Bizerba Meat Tenderizing Machine had “encrusted old food residue throughout blades.” Even when they say, “corrected on site,” doesn’t it still seem to mean if the inspector hadn’t come, there would be new, different encrusted old food residue caked on top of the other encrusted old food residue?

Also in the meat department, there was a “heavy ice build up on boxes and on poultry products inside walk-in freezer.” All that food got tossed.

On a rack, chicken empanadas that should have been kept at 135 degrees measured 76 degrees. Some deli meat sub kids and a tray of sliced tomatoes at the sub prep table were a tad above 41 degrees, but got passed by the inspector after being put in a blast chiller.

Tony Distributors Global Corp, 849 W. 18th St., Hialeah — The inspector came by to check on Sept. 26 for a compliance verification check to see if the employee restroom handwash sink had hot water yet. It didn’t. But it did Wednesday.