Food & Drink

Who’s on ‘Gross Grocer’ list? An Aldi, and rodents pooping on cake supplies and dog food

Rodents expanded their presence among South Florida places in this Hurricane Dorian-delayed edition of Gross Grocers.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Agriculture health inspections of supermarkets, food sellers, food distributors and food storage facilities. We don’t control who gets inspected (OK, we see something egregious, we’re reporting it) or how strictly a place gets inspected. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a handbasket of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Aldi, 16500 SW 88th St., West Miami-Dade: We know Aldi is the ultimate of no-frills shopping, making you provide or pay for almost everything but the actual product, but there’s a limit.

The Aug. 16 inspection found no hot water at the restroom handwashing sinks used by employees and customers. On Sept. 3, the inspector swung back by to find not much had changed.

“No hot water was available at the hand sinks when checked. Food establishment management provided invoices from the last two plumber and electrician visits, as well as pictures from the work being done.”

“Water tank was replaced with a tankless water heater, but additional electrical and plumbing work are required.”

Art Deco Supermarket, 1435 Washington Ave., Miami Beach: One of the places open on Thanksgiving Day (in case you forgot potatoes or thyme or something) had for sale packs of yellow cheese with a mold-like substance.

No handwashing sink in the meat processing area. But in the meat department, there was a “meat grinder with old encrusted food residue throughout equipment. Observed band saw with old encrusted food residue through top and bottom of equipment not cleaned from prior day.”

And, in the back room, “Old dry mice droppings and debris throughout establishment.”

Bass Brothers Supermarket, 909 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale: In the deli, meats and a jug of milk were open, but nobody knew how long they’d been open. No dates on the food gave any hint. Tossed.

On the retail shelves, the inspector didn’t need dates. Texture told the tale.

Milk that was to expire Sept. 3 and 4 already was “spoiled and with bulky chunks.” A package of lunch meat ham was “discolored.”

In the meat department, the inspector spotted “heavy mold build up on walls and pooling of water on floor located in meat cutting room.”

“Observed soil and dust on retail shelves throughout food establishment…soil build up on shelves located in all reach-in coolers throughout food establishment.”

Bravo Supermarket, 8251 Sunset Strip, Sunrise: Two out of three is bad, especially when you double up on it and fail four of the last inspections like Bravo company here.

In the meat department, the inspector saw an “insect killing device installed above meat band saw.”

But that bad placement didn’t prevent, in the meat and deli departments, “several flies in the department.”

Also in the meat department, “garbage can used to hold clean pans with meat” and standing water in the walk-in cooler.

Out where folks shop, “Soil buildup and a dead insect on refrigerated shelves throughout the retail area where meats, eggs and other refrigerated items are displayed.”

Don Pan at Sawgrass, 12711 W. Sunrise Blvd, Sunrise: In the café, a food employee didn’t wash hands before “making sandwiches, cooking foods and serving open foods, after hands have become contaminated by touching face and mouth area.”

In the bakery, someone washed and rinsed utensils, pots and pans, but skipped the whole sanitizing thing.

The inspector dropped a Stop Use on the ice machine upon seeing “interior bin walls and ice chute found with yellow and white mildew like stains.”

And they had enough food at unsafe temperatures to feed Hialeah: sliced cheese cake, fruit tart, strawberry tart, milhoja with chantilly, flan slices, flan cups, sliced pudding, three milks desserts, four milks desserts, cheeses (paisa, sliced gouda, sliced swiss, sliced provolone, bulk swiss, bulk provolone, containers of soft white cheese), sliced turkey, sliced ham, tomato guacamole and cooked black beans, ham and cheese, cheese and ham breads.

Eben Ezer Bakery, 686 NE 33rd St., Pompano Beach: In the retail area, “apparent rodent droppings found on floors against the back wall and underneath the reach-in drink unit and the two other reach-in cold units.”

And happy birthday or anniversary if you got your cake there. “Decorating/cashier area, apparent rodent droppings found on decorating table and on cake supplies, on floors and inside food and supply boxes.

“Live roaches crawling along the back walls and under the decorating table.”

Out where the food was served, “live roaches found crawling around the interior door tracks and inside of all three reach-in display units and on the interior and exterior track of the reach in hot unit. Live roaches crawling along the bottom part of the standing hot unit and along the back wall of the reach-in hot holding unit and on the food scale.

“Observed rodent racing along the back wall in front of the display cases.”

Back in the kitchen, “live roaches found on floors and walls around stove top/deep fryer, and apparent rodent droppings found on food rack, table and on floors throughout.”

Back where they bring goods in, “live roaches found crawling on food racks, on supply table, inside container with equipment/utensils on walls and on floors throughout. Apparent rodent droppings found on table, inside supply boxes, inside unused equipment on unclean stored pots and pans and floors throughout.”

Do we really need to hear anything else?

El Tejadito Bakery, 5691 SW 137th Ave, South Miami-Dade: Bad washing, as in not sanitizing the utensils. Also, in the kitchen and food service areas, hands…

“Food employees observed not washing hands prior to donning gloves to handle various food items for customers, as well as not washing hands after handling trash can and prior to returning to work.”

Also in the kitchen, “old yellow dough residue encrusted on upper portion where mixing blade is attached above the mixing bowls and food item.”

Family Dollar, 5055 10th Ave., Greenacres: This is the rodent amusement park repeatedly examined by intrepid inspector Katie Hansen and eventually closed by Family Dollar. She dropped by back on Aug. 14 to find the place still closed with no employees present.

But Family Dollar, ever on the march in Florida, hadn’t gone into full scale retreat and turned the place over to Pixie, Dixie, Willard and Ben.

When Hansen stopped by again on Monday, “Affected areas were cleaned, sanitized, checked and released and food entity has implemented a pest management control program.”

She lifted the Stop Use order on the receiving area (they can get new stuff) and the Stop Sale on all the food in the establishment.

Family Dollar, 2901 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park: Passed a re-inspection on Aug. 28. That wouldn’t have been necessary if the rodents hadn’t poop on the Gravy Train.

“Retail area: rodent droppings too numerous to count below pet food shelving. Gnawed bag of Gravy Train dog food.”

Also, for some reason, “numerous ants on the floor near laundry detergent shelves.”

Family Matters, 125 Hypoluxo Rd., Lantana: Maybe where they put their dung is a family matter.

“Establishment has been unable to provide sewage waste disposal proof that sewage waste is disposed through an approved public system or septic system.”

Grace Bakery & Café, 597 E. Sample Rd., Pompano Beach: Handwashing sink problems here, including no soap at the ones in the food prep area and the kitchen area next to the three-compartment sink.

And bottles of Cremasse, a Haitian milk beverage, were kept at 72 degrees near the front counter.

Grand Cake Café, 10981 SW 186th St., Cutler Bay: No soap or sanitizer at the handwashing sink near where they make the ready-to-eat stuff, but here’s something you don’t want to see at a place with “cake” in the name.

“Carts inside refrigeration being used for food storage not cleaned enough to prevent product contamination. The exterior of the mixers being used for food production found with product residue.”

Import Mex, 1240 W. 13th St., Riviera Beach: “We import more than just products,” Import Mex’s website says, “We bring heritage and memories, so now people can feel closer to home than ever.”

So, let’s check out what Import Mex considers making people feel closer to home.

“A package of Malher brand meat tenderizer and seasoning was observed to be in direct contact with mice excreta on a storage pallet in the warehouse.” Gone.

“A heavy accumulation of mice excreta was observed on the floor and the pallets throughout the warehouse. Multiple birds were observed flying throughout the warehouse.

“A roach was observed crawling inside of a crevice in the wall next to the front bay doors in the warehouse. A roach was observed crawling on the wall next to the rear bay doors in the warehouse.”

Kwik Stop, 109 S. Third St., Lantana: There was a Stop Use on the area where a handwashing sink wasn’t put with a three-compartment sink, which is directly plumbed (that’s a no-no, in case of sewage backup).

But a bigger problem appeared to be in the backroom where “rodent droppings were observed in and around several boxes by the door opening to the warewashing area.”

And an even bigger problem were the pickled sausages placed on Stop Sale earlier still being sold.

New Ocean Food Market, 2050 71st St., Miami Beach: The rice on the shelves wasn’t pre-peppered.

“Several bags of rice infected with bugs.”

Also out on the retail floor, “old dry mouse dropping and several old dead big roaches behind the BBQ section.”

They had to toss some ham croquettes, cheese empanadas and chicken empanadas on temperature violations.

Oceanside Produce, 2355 Vista Parkway, West Palm Beach: This cold storage facility apparently isn’t cold enough to freeze the flies.

Multiple fruit flies were observed flying throughout the establishment at the time of the inspection.

There was no soap, drying device, or handwash sign observed at the handwash sink in the front processing area.

Powerline Stop, 1100 NW Ninth Ave., Fort Lauderdale: This place has since passed re-inspection. But before it did, it had more lively problems than not doing a daily cleaning on the tongs used for sausages.

“Retail area, apparent rodent droppings on the floor in front of the drink cold unit, under food shelves, around the corners against the walls, on the cash register table, on potato chip boxes/racks and unit housing cookies on the ride side of the area.

“Apparent rodent droppings on the floors throughout under drink racks and shelves, and around the interior trim of the door railing/track line inside the walk in cooler.

“Food service area apparent rodent droppings on table next to open pickled sausages and under the potato chip rack.”

Saveland Supermarket, 8704 NW 32nd Ave, Miami: They had to throw out all their in-house sliced ham and cheese from the previous day as well as beef empanadas and ham croquettes. Bad temperatures.

Yuly Meat & Produce, 2001 S. State Rd. 7, Davie: No handwash sinks in the bakery room or food service area, but in the meat areas, “flies in the area too numerous to count.”

Also, in the meat processing area, the ice machine got a stop use for “black mold like stains and brown rust like stains on ice chute and on crevice of interior door.”

Want some produce? “Mold and adulteration observed on red pepper, cucumber, jalapeno and green squash.”

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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