Food & Drink

Old food, some with mold, and that chain store’s rodents (still) on the Gross Grocers list

This edition of “Gross Grocers” covers Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, and features a Family Dollar for the fifth consecutive time.

What follows comes from Florida 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.

In alphabetical order:

Anytime Café, 2691 E. 11th Ave., Hialeah — This gas station companion packed a lot of violations into a small space.

“Vegetable hand slicer used to cut lettuce/tomatoes found stored as clean with brown lettuce pieces and yellow food residue in between the blade and guard.”

In the food service area, “visible stuck on dust and soil matter on the metal rail to the orange juice machine.” The orange juicer was given the rest of the day off.

There’s the person not washing hands after touching face and mouth area while working with open foods or when shifting from working with raw food to cooked food.

“Warewash sink found with grease residue inside the basins, with food particles on the drain wing and with stuck on old yellow food residue on the nozzle and handle to the hanging hose, not cleaned before and after use as required.”

Top section of sandwich station measured between 47 degrees and 55 degrees, a problem when it’s supposed to be keeping things at 41 degrees or under. And that’s why white cheese, yellow cheese, provolone cheese, swiss cheese, tuna salad and sliced turkey all got tossed for temperature abuse. In the pre area, a packages of cooked pork measured at 45 degrees.

One container of cooked pork packages in the walk-in cooler had a date of May 23. This inspection was on June 11. Judging by the employee refrigerators in certain businesses we could name, you might not see 19 days as a problem. Inspectors don’t want to see anything past seven.

Family Dollar, 5055 10th Ave., Greenacres — Here’s Old Rodent Reliable. No other store has appeared so often on any version of our inspection reports than this Family Dollar, so give them a hand. Or a truckload of traps and cheese.

Also, how about a standing ovation for Inspector Katie Hansen, who showed up to this rodent-chewed spot Friday for the fifth time since April with just her normal inspection equipment and not, say, a flamethrower.

While seeing rodent hair and skin on shelves and the same rodent poop in the same spot 15 days after she first saw it back in April, Hansen dropped Stop Use orders prohibiting this Family Dollar from receiving new food, using the food retail shelves or the backroom. She also hit all food products with a Stop Sale order. All orders remain in place until this stops being a rodent Cheeca Lodge.

The corporate masters from Dollar Tree closed this store down to deal with the problem, a Dollar Tree spokesman said in an email to the Miami Herald. It reopened before Hansen returned on May 31 to see the same stuff, different day.

So let’s see what Inspector Hansen saw on Friday.

“Rodent dropping underneath and on shelving in Home Décor and Laundry aisle, by the pet foods, in corners of store by the bleach shelves, in children’s toys aisle, in corner of the store by single use paper products, on sandwich bag shelf, underneath soda end cap, underneath the food aisle gondolas, on shelves by peanuts and canned products.”

Water break…OK, back to the inspection.

“Observed chew marks on cans of peanuts and on boxes of powdered chemicals.”

In the backroom, “rodent droppings by office door and bathroom door to the left of the water fountain. Observed fur and pieces of skin stuck to wire rack on top of water fountain.”

Managers and employees knew she was coming back, right? And they knew her job it is to be more than a little judgy. Maybe want to take a broom to the rodent dung or take some rodent skin off the shelves?

“Rodent droppings were also observed in backroom receiving area by the double-door hinges, underneath electrical panel, around wet mop sink, on top of internet box and other electrical devices.”

Obviously, all Stop Sale and Stop Use orders remain in effect.

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Florida Discount Nutrition, 8420 Mills Dr., South Miami-Dade — This vitamin and health food store has until next Wednesday to get hot water at its restroom sink.

Fresco Y Mas, 12107 SW 152nd St., South Miami-Dade — Washing food preparation equipment seems as difficult a concept here as the Express Lane (20 items or less at the Frescos we know).

In the deli area “food residue on metallic bowl stored on clean rack by warewashing sink.” In the meat department “food residue on slicer.” In the bakery area, “old yellow dough residue on underside of mixer at blade attachment” and “baking sheets and trays encrusted with grease and oil.”

Look up and the inspector saw “dust accumulation on fan guards inside walk-in cooler” of the meat department. Out where folks shop, “dirt accumulation on honeycomb structure of produce and meats reach-in coolers.”

You don’t expect to see this much food tossed for being at bacteria temperature at a large chain supermarket, but the mini vanilla flan, tres leches, quatro leches in the deli display case; the hot dogs on shelf in meat section; butter packs and Swiss cheese in the dairy section; and cut tomato packs in produce section all went the way of the dumpster.

Living Green Fresh Market, 413 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach — Not to be confused with The Fresh Market, which hasn’t had a store on this list since December.

Not so fresh were “Repacked block of cheese with mold growth…” The Gouda and cheddar got tossed.

Also not fresh as a Kool and the Gang song were foods in the sandwich station prepared more than seven days before, such as tikka chicken (eight days), chicken breast (13 days) and unknown dates for cooked diced pepper mix, cooked bell peppers and other chicken breast.

“Found two [handwashing] sinks unable to provide hot water.” This was “COS,” which means “corrected on site” as the “hot water was provided to hand sinks during inspection.” But what if Inspector Quinton Martin hadn’t dropped by that day?

“Juice bar, found blenders in use not sanitized every four hours when used with TCS foods (cut spinach, kale, melons).” (TCS means “time/temperature control for safety”)

The reach-in cooler piled up a monument to failure in the garbage with foods not still warmer than 41 degrees after six hours, which keeps them from being bacteria buses. The anhi chicken, meatballs, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts and oven-baked chicken all got dumped.

Even worse at the Juice Bar were way too warm cantaloupe, kale, cherry cheese cake and heavy whipping cream. Following them into the trash from the cold salad case were caprese, sprout portabella ciabatta, sprout portabella eggplant ciabatta and turkey mushroom ciabatta.”

Mercado Miami Centro Americano, 1001 W. Flagler St., Miami — They’ve got to install indirect plumbing at the warewashing sinks in the kitchen and food service, so there’s no possibility of a sewage backup into those key sinks.

Super Star K, 4100 Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderdale Lakes — An encore appearance by the convenience store, which made the last Gross Grocers list.

They’ve got until July 10 to install a handwashing sink in the backroom with the warewashing sink and open foods area.

An employee wore the same gloves for various different tasks, which included working with raw chicken and cooked foods. So, if you’re wondering what train the salmonella took, there you go.

Want a quick deli-style sandwich? “Lunch meat slicer found with old, stuck-on food residue on blade and push tool attachment.” In the backroom, “bulk pieces of pastrami and turkey not date marked.” Both were tossed, so that’s a hint at their age.

Also in the backroom, “fan guards inside walk-in cooler encrusted in black dust and drink rack with black mold-like stains throughout.”

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.