Food & Drink

Rodent poop on food shelves, bugs in rice and two dirty Kwik Stops. More grocers fail

Moldy blueberries are the kind of thing that’ll get a store on the Gross Grocers list, if the Department of Agriculture inspector sees it.
Moldy blueberries are the kind of thing that’ll get a store on the Gross Grocers list, if the Department of Agriculture inspector sees it. dneal@MiamiHerald.com

The 11 places on this Broward and Palm Beach part of our Gross Grocers list had fewer problems with handwashing than their Miami-Dade counterparts, but more problems with organic things.

Not organic food. Rodents, roaches, other bugs. So, post-apocalyptic organic food.

What follows comes from Department of Agriculture inspections. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a handbasket of humor.

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In alphabetical order:

Charlie’s Happy Corn Two, 908 Northlake Blvd, North Palm Beach — This dessert shop has been operating since December without a 2019 permit. After seeing “droppings on shelving in back storage area, inside office and lounge,” the inspector dropped a Stop Use on the whole area.

Homegoods, 3601 Oakwood Blvd, Hollywood — On this Jan. 28 check back from a Dec. 28 inspection for hot water in the employee restrooms, the inspector found “no hot water at the men’s or women’s restrooms. Food entity has 14 days to install hot water.”

Why do you care? Whose hands do you think handled everything you’re grabbing with your hands and putting in your shopping cart?

Kwik Stop Food Market, 920 S. 56th Ave., Hollywood — The inspection for this Kwik Stop wouldn’t download. We can’t tell you why they failed their inspection last Tuesday. Only that they failed it. And they weren’t the only Kwik Stop in Broward to do so last week.

Kwik Stop Food Market, 2584 N. State Road 7, Lauderdale Lakes — Two things jumped out from Wednesday’s inspection.

“Several grain insects in bags of rice on retail shelves” and a plunger stored in the backroom’s handwashing sink. Hard to make washing hands casual and standard when there’s a big dump de-clogger there as a matter of course. Also increasing the degree of difficulty in washing hands was the lack of soap there. And in the backroom restroom.

The walk-in cooler was more walk-in lukewarm, 60 degrees. That meant it couldn’t properly cool sausages, salted fish or eggs. They got moved elsewhere.

La Puissance, 700 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Blvd. West, Belle Glade — If the name sounds familiar, thank you for being a regular reader. La Puissance made the early January Gross Grocers list. Most stores get their act together, at least for the re-inspection. Maybe La Puissance’s owners think they had Inspector Dory, who would forget to return.

They had Inspector Brittani Rogers. Inspector Rogers did not play.

“Observed rodent droppings on retail shelving throughout establishment (all shelves, from top to bottom rows).”

Just to make sure you knew exactly what she meant, Inspector Rogers broke it down: “On top of bulk bags of rice, on the shelf with aloe vera water packages, on top of sheets used to cover shelving and chest freezers, on shelving with large bags of rice, on shelves with oil, salt, laundry detergent, next to cans of pigeon peas, on shelving behind blue and white checker sheet holding bulk bags of rice and observed droppings inside box near entrance where room temperature sodas are stored.”

While there were other violations, the furry four-legged situation alone would have put La Puissance in the recycled failure bin. Perhaps they made progress since last time as Inspector Rogers didn’t drop Stop Use Orders all over the place and take La Puissance out of the food business. That’s the threat stated on the inspection when insects and rodents are seen running about the place.

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Marathon II, 9 NW Ave. L, Belle Glade — “Dead roach and bugs underneath cabinet near beverage drink machine.”

In the food processing area, the inspector saw an “accumulation of slimy black mold like accumulation on sides and splash guard of ice machine.”

“Single use gloves stored inside breading used more than once inside of breading container.” The breading got trashed just as the glove should have been after the first use.

In other breading issues, “Breading used since 4 a.m. not sifted every four hours at room temperature. No date marking on breading used to bread raw meat.” The breading was tossed.

Someone needs to grab a mop (“Floor stained with dried food product. Debris and excessive dirt on floors throughout establishment.”) and a old t-shirt as a dust rag (“Dust accumulation at air vents, walls, ceilings throughout establishment”).

The air vets inside the walk-in had a serious collection of dust, which blew dust all over the walk-in cooler’s ceiling and walls.

Ice issues: Tthe inspector dropped a Stop Use on selling ice when she couldn’t find the manufacturer’s name or address on the bag.

Mobil, 8291 N. University Dr., Tamarac — “Employee using knock board stored inside garbage can to remove coffee grinds while making drinks.”

This is a violation? Isn’t this in every colada-making gas station between Homestead and North Tampa?

“Observed spoons and spatula held in a soiled container on top of espresso machine.”

“Employee and customer restrooms not supplied with hot water.”

And there was no divider between the mop sink and a food prep table. One splash and your sandwich gets a little Fabuloso flavor.

Shredded pork got tossed for being cooked at home (nothing against Tia Wendy’s shredded pork, but her kitchen hasn’t passed state inspection). Empanadas, chicharons and croquettas got tossed for being kept at too cool a temperature.

Ruby Wholesale, 8233 Gator Ln., Suite 36, West Palm Beach — The inspection says Ruby is a “major food distributor,” and seeing some of what follows makes us say “We need to know where they’re distributing.”

“Three cardboard boxes full of ready to eat Jamaican beef patties were observed in direct contact with multiple live ants and live fruit flies inside of a reach down freezer chest in the warehouse.”

“Multiple ants and fruit flies were observed flying around and crawling inside of the reach down freezer chests in the warehouse … a roach was observed crawling on the desk near the entrance door in the warehouse.”

As for the folks working there, where they put their personal bodily waste “was not maintained cleanly and the handwash sink was observed with brown debris.” Brown debris, but no paper towels, hand drying device and running hot water.

Sample Sunoco, 500 W. Sample Rd., Pompano Beach — In the food processing area, “live roaches were observed crawling on the floor, tables and wall in the deli processing area. In the backroom area, a live roach was observed crawling on the wall next to the three-compartment sink.”

They got a Stop Use order for that.

“The existing drainage pipe has become disconnected from the mop sink backroom area. Condensation leak coming from the condenser drainage pipe in the walk-in cooler.” So, in the processing area, “Condensation leaks into plastic bucket in deli display case.”

There’s a direct connection at the three-compartment sink’s drain line. That’s a problem if there’s ever a sewage backup, which is why these connections are required to be indirect. This Sunoco has 90 days to install indirect plumbing or “all food equipment will be placed under Stop Use order and food service will be placed under Stop Sale order.”

Three Brothers of Palm Beach, 5000 Lake Worth Rd., Greenacres — Hope your Diet Ginger Ale doesn’t make a stop at this dry storage facility before heading to market.

“Multiple fruit flies were observed flying around the microwave in the room next to the soda storage shelves in the warehouse …Multiple rat excreta were observed on the floor below the soda storing pallets in the warehouse.”

YouFit Health Club, 3120 Oakwood Blvd., Hollywood — Classified as a “minor outlet” selling “prepackaged/no PHF (Potentially Hazardous Food),” the club still gets inspected. And still can fail when “hot water was not restored in women’s restroom.”

The inspector threatened YouFit with administrative action when the restroom didn’t have hot water during the Dec. 17 inspection. After this Jan. 18 failure, the inspector wagged a finger at YouFit to get it done in 14 days.

Yuking Food Group, 7792 NW 44th St., Lauderhill — Classified as an “other perishable processing” establishment, they lacked a mop sink, proof of approved sewage system and water system.

“Observed no handwash sink in juice and coffee preparation area. Also, handwashing sink next to three-compartment sink was not installed at time of initial inspection.”

Considering the condition of ice machines and ice in general, this qualifies as unsettling: “Multiple plastic bags of boiled peanuts were observed open and covered by ice inside of the reach down freezer chest in the front storage room in the warehouse.”

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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