How to handle food safely to prevent illness
You know it’s a special Gross Grocers when the usual roaches, rodents, old dried food on equipment and unwashed hands get joined by bird poop and weevils.
What follows comes from failed Department of Agriculture inspections of supermarkets, smaller grocers, food storage facilities and food distributors in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties (nobody in Monroe County failed inspection this time).
We don’t control how strictly places get inspected. But if we see you, say, wrapping our salmon with the same gloves you used to clean the three-compartment sink, we might mention it to the Ag Department.
We write without passion or prejudice, but with a handbasket of humor.
And we go in alphabetical order:
Alameda Bakery, 5915 W. 25th Ct., Hialeah — This place passed re-inspection Aug. 6 with a check back on the progress of separating the toilet from the food processing area.
In the previous failed inspection, the food service area had a live roach inside a storage cabinet and dead roaches in another storage cabinet. What they didn’t have was soap for the backroom restroom handwashing sink or the processing area handwashing sink next to the three-compartment sink.
“Observed bread dough and pastries stored on mobile racks stored uncovered under dusty fan guards inside walk in cooler.”
“Observed pork and ham and cheesed sandwiches held on top of counter at ambient temperature of 74 degrees.” Tossed.
Dolphin Food market, 2352 NW 46th St., Miami — This place passed re-inspection Tuesday. Here’s why a re-inspection was necessary. From July 16:
“Retail area, green rodent pellet found by a/c unit.” Green? Somebody’s tummy might be upset…
In the food service area, yellow, old dry product residue on the inside blade of the slicer; grease residue on the handle of the oven, product residue on the sliding door of the reach-in cooler; encrusted residue on the hand sink by the three-compartment sink.
5th Ave. Mini Market, 815 NW Fifth Ave., Florida City — Most of the problems were in the food service area, except for the “accumulation of unnecessary equipment and trash throughout the back area.”
This is a mini-mart, not Sanford & Son Salvage.
Not that you could tell by the “accumulation of grime and mold on food contact of ice machine ice bin ... accumulation of dry food particles on food contact sections of a table mounted can opener...accumulation of grease, trash and grime on floors along walls, counters, tables and equipment.”
Also, they weren’t sanitizing the equipment and utensils before use.
No soap at a food service area handwashing sink.
A Stop Use got dropped on a two-door storage cooler that didn’t deserve the name and caused out-of-temperature food items to be tossed.
Flowers Bakery Thrift Store, 2700 NW 122nd St., North Miami-Dade — “Several birds flying inside the warehouse where bread trays and display racks are stored, observed several bread racks with bird feces on them.”
Friends Meat Market, 6101 NW 17th Ave., Miami — As was the case with several places on this list, it passed re-inspection Tuesday.
But it failed its previous inspection with “dead roaches observed on floor behind stove and inside hand sink cabinet” in the food service area and sewage water in the meat area’s three-compartment sink.
Also in the meat area (this is a meat market, right?) “old, dry meat residue inside blade of band saw and slicer.”
Gerardo’s Market Place, 15509 Bull Run Rd., Miami Lakes — Gerardo’s passed re-inspection Wednesday after an inspection lowlighted by “observed old rodent excreta throughout area were chemicals are stored.”
Also, the reach-in cooler with house made pasta salads, pork roast and chicken breast all too warm needed to be cooler. The inspector dropped a Stop Use Order on it
Just as well because condensation from the condenser unit dripped on the racks.
Import Mex, 1240 W. 13th St., Riviera Beach — A welcome back to a “major food distributor” that made the last Gross Grocers listing.
“There was a heavy accumulation of mice excreta observed on the floors in multiple areas of the warehouse.”
“Two roaches were observed crawling inside of crevices in the wall next to the bay door in the warehouse. One roach was observed crawling on the floor next to the bay door in the warehouse. One roach was observed crawling on the floor opposite the bay door in the warehouse.”
Miami Deli Beach Market, 300 Alton Rd., Miami Beach — “Back room area observed soil debris and old dead roaches and old mouse droppings.”
No soap or paper towels at a kitchen area handwashing sink.
The rice, chicken, pork ribs, potatoes, and beef stew ranging from 112 degrees to 133 inside a hot holding case. That’s warm enough only to be hot garbage.
Toss it next to the not-cold-enough garbage of the house cut melons (51 to 55 degrees when they needed to be under 41 degrees).
Mills Coco, 2630 W. Sixth Ave., Hialeah — No hot water available at the three-compartment sink or the handwashing sink in the processing area.
There seemed to be more concern that Mills Coco was doing food processing without a valid permit. The inspector tried contacting Patrick Palmer, Mills Coco’s only registered agent with the state of Florida. She got no answer.
“After no answers, a visit was made to the location and there was evidence of food processing occurring. Spoke to the lessee of the space, Gabriel, and he stated that Mr. Palmer was bottling the coconut water and shipping it to New York with the raw coconuts. Mr. Palmer stated that he was buying the juice from Gabriel and shipping the coconuts and coconut water to a Jamaican store in the Bronx.”
Namira Fresh Foods, 5890 NW Seventh Ave., Miami — Namira passed re-inspection Tuesday by putting in hot water, the handwashing sink by the three-compartment sink and fixing an air gap between the three-compartment sink and the drain line.
Those were all problems on the July 18 inspection. that had the food service area under a Stop Use order from June 14 until Tuesday.
National Cakes Bakery, 18845 SW 117th Ave., South Miami Dade — “Black mold-like grime encrusted on ice-making portion and ice chute of ice machine.”
“Water from condensing unit found pooled in trays with cake-like desserts.”
But the inspector seemed particularly bothered by the low priority given handwashing in this joint.
Three areas handwashing sinks, including the restrooms, didn’t have soap.
In the food service area, “no hand wash sink available near the steam table where food employees serve open foods for customers.” In the bakery, “no hand wash sink available near the baker’s station to wash their hands when handling dough and bakery products.”
National has 30 days to get it together with all that or Stop Use Orders will come down on those areas.
In the cafe, the handwashing sink near the ware washing sink is under the counter where the sandwich press is, not easily reached. And the three-compartment sink’s faucet doesn’t reach all three compartments. A Stop Use came down on that.
In the reach-in cooler, old flan. Tossed.
The cafe’s hot holding unit didn’t work and the food service reach-in cooler didn’t either. Lot of food followed the flan into the trash.
Northside Meat Market, 2720 NW 79th St., Miami — “Observed multiple packages of rice with weevils inside.”
In the backroom area, the ban saw hadn’t been cleaned in two days, said the person in charge.
In the processing area, there wasn’t any soap at a handwashing sink and in the unisex restroom, there wasn’t even a handwashing sink. Guess they’re not believing all that hype about Hepatitis A.
Heavy soil buildup in the three-compartment sink says there’s not nearly enough washing going on there of anything.
Presidente Supermarket, 113336 Quail Roost Dr., South Miami Dade — Before we get to the serious handwashing problems, let’s talk about the seafood, deli, food service, retail areas, where “numerous flies were found around various processing areas and retail spaces.”
In the produce area, “black flying insects/gnats found around the space near the ware washing sink.”
Multiple food employees in several areas didn’t wash their hands after going in and out of the areas to handle food. Or, they used gloves, but used them for multiple tasks in different areas.
Then again, the inspector blamed some of this on the handwashing sinks. The only one near the coffee machine was beneath a counter, “not conveniently located for use by employees, as evidenced by handwashing issues.” There was none near the deli. The seafood section had the only such sink. This Presidente was given 30 days to improve the sink placement in both places.
“Old yellow food residue encrusted on tenderizer blades.” “Black mold-like grime encrusted on ice making portion and water filter inside ice machine.” “Black mold-like grime encrusted on interior ice making portion, chute and interior housing of seafood ice machine located near delivery entrance.”
As for the food, the cantimpallo sandwich; ham spread; pasta salad; and rice pudding were dangerously uncool.
“Roof at bread room found collapsed and missing all ceiling tiles and protection for equipment, food, and processing area.”
Price Choice Food Market, 109 N. State Rd. 7, Plantation — On the re-inspection of a July 5 failed inspection, the Price wasn’t right — again.
“Build up of soil and dried food debris on deli slicer,” which hadn’t been washed and sanitized at least every four hours.
Several pastries stuffed with beef, cheese or chicken were stored at room temperature. Tossed.
“Cleaned and sanitized knife stored between wall and prep table.” So, guess we can’t say it’s clean or sanitary anymore, can we, Captain Lazy?
In the meat department, there was a “build up of grime and debris on floors, walls and ceilings throughout the establishment.”
Rivas Market, 729 SW Sixth St., Miami — The deli slicer, utensils, pots and pans were used more than four hours without being washed and sanitized.
No paper towels in the unisex employee backroom restroom.
Without a three-compartment sink, a Stop Use Order got dropped on all processing areas.
There still wasn’t a three-compartment sink for Friday’s re-inspection. The Stop Use on the bakery oven, food service area and food processing areas remains in effect.
S & M Sales, 270 W. 26th St., Hialeah — Interesting name for this “major food distributor” that got whipped by the July 23 inspection before getting on top of the Aug. 6 re-inspection.
“Observed birds flying in and out of the facility through broken windows and screens and overhead door. Furthermore, observed rodent droppings on the south side of the facility along the wall and underneath pallets of soft drinks.”
This is what happens when you don’t hire a teenager with a weed whacker. “Overgrown weed and trash on west side of building, furthermore observed garbage dumpster without lids.”
Sabor Tropical Supermarket, 8700 SW 137th Ct., South Miami-Dade — “Back-up sewage coming out from floor drain found beneath the ware wash sink and floor drains located by the slicers and meat slicer/tenderizer.”
The inspector dropped a Stop Use Order on the deli, meat and meat processing areas, all the food equipment and food processing in the areas. “No processing, washing, or food handling may take place until released by an inspector.”
Though Sabor Tropical is still open, there’s no record online of a re-inspection lifting this Stop Use Order.
Under “How They Do That?” we find “old black food residue expelled from the band saw encrusted on the two ceiling tiles located above the band saw.”
No soap or paper towels at the handwashing sink in the produce area, but “numerous flies and gnats found flying around the produce processing area and equipment.”
Also in the produce area, “knives found wedged between the two preparation tables and between table and wall” and “excessively scored cutting board with black grime in grooves, and brown color found being used to cut vegetables.”
In the kitchen, “food employee observed washing and rinsing equipment, not sanitizing and letting other employees obtain for use with hot foods.”
Sage’s Organics, 3063 NW 285th St., Lauderdale Lakes — This place’s function: “other perishable processing.”
“Multiple flies were observed flying around the kitchen.”
“The owner stated that she is cleaning her equipment and utensils in the following order: the equipment and utensils are placed into sanitizing solution, washed with detergent, and then rinsed with water.” Detergent? When did they start Tide for Dishes?
Hey, somebody do a Broom Boogie. “There is a heavy accumulation of old food debris on the floor below the metal shelves in the walk-in refrigerator.”
Scarleth Research, 10665 SW 190th St., Cutler Bay — Despite the name that sounds like a focus group factory, this place’s function is described as “Other non-perishable processing.”
And it’s faults are “no equipment or process installed to ensure equipment being used for manufacturing ready-to-eat foods is properly washed and sanitized.”
“There is no hand sink installed in order to properly wash hands and sanitize in a facility manufacturing ready-to-eat supplements.”
7-Eleven, 533 NW 103rd St., North Miami-Dade — This Big Gulp factory has failed two inspections since our last Gross Grocers listing, setting some kind of record.
On July 23, Inspector Jose Pavon “observed multiple dead roaches through out floor” in the backroom and “multiple rodent excreta through out floor and wall located next to mop sink and where soda refills are stored.”
He dropped a Stop Use Order on the back room storage and back receiving area.
So, that inspection got a “re-inspection required,” the designation of a failure and a hint and a half to get things in order. The folks at 7-Eleven must have read a “maybe” in there because the store sure seemed surprised when Inspector Pavon returned Wednesday.
“Observed multiple dead roaches and mice through out floor” and “multiple rodent excreta” in the same area as before. And “non-food articles stored throughout, not allowing for proper cleaning and sanitizing of areas, as evidenced by rodent activity throughout the back room.
The Stop Use Orders remained in place, joined by ones for retail processing, equipment and storage cabins of food.
The Stop Use got lifted Friday after a focused re-inspection: “affected areas were cleaned, sanitized, checked and released and food entity has implemented a pest management control program.”
Tasos Pita Bread Factory, 815 N. Dixie Hwy, Lake Worth — There being nothing between the restroom door and the food processing area didn’t bring the biggest “EW” in the food processing area.
“Multiple spiders and ants were observed crawling on the wooden cutting boards on the food prep tables in the front processing area.”
“Heavy accumulations of mice excreta” were spotted on the floor opposite the walk-in refrigerator in the rear food storage room and on the metal panel below the conveyor belt in the front processing area.
Both processing rooms, front and rear, lacked a handwashing sink.
Old dried food debris was observed on the meat slicer blade in the front processing area.
Tequeno Sabor, 13816 SW 142nd Ave., South Miami-Dade — Two violations involving tequeno assembly: an “employee watching programs on personal cellphone, placed on processing table” and “large fans for cooling, pointing towards the processing table...with excessive amount of dust accumulation on the grills.”
“Observed a female employee eating crackers...located by processing table where guava bars are sliced.” Extra texture for the guava bars?
“Observed large fans used for cooling, pointing towards the processing table where tequenos are assembled, with excessive amount of dust accumulation on the grills.”
“Inside the two-door reach-in cooler, several food bins with ready-to-eat sliced white cheese without any protection from environmental contamination.”