Keeping Food Safe
State Inspections Uncover Grocery Violations
Published: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.
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LAKELAND | When Winter Haven resident Jessica Jiles went to the Walmart at 7450 Cypress Garden Blvd. in mid-July, a rat playing on the beef in the meat department wasn’t on her shopping list. But it was there long enough for Jiles to snap a picture of it with her cell phone.
“The concern with food safety in a kitchen or grocery store is that you can get a lot of people sick all at once. The people in the grocery stores … have a responsibility for the consumer’s health.”
Staff attorney, Center for Science in the Public Interest
Although this intruder made its presence known, a lot more goes on behind the scenes in grocery stores than consumers get to see, some potentially more harmful than a rodent. For instance:
At the Publix at 4730 S. Florida Ave. in Lakeland, a Florida Department of Agriculture supervisor found a worker slicing ready-to-eat ham on a cutting board table that still had raw beef and raw chicken juice. The knife also had raw chicken residue.
At the Winn-Dixie at 1305 Ariana St. in Lakeland, there was a dead fly in chicken pot pie filling.
At the Walmart at 1050 E. Van Fleet Drive in Bartow and the Target at 3570 Harden Blvd. in Lakeland, milk on sale several days past the expiration date had to be thrown out during the inspection.
Several flies swarmed the deli department at Bravo on 2435 U.S. 98 N., the only one in Polk.
At the Sweetbay Supermarket on 6220 U.S. 98 N. in Lakeland, rice and pasta on the shelves were infested with grain insects.
These were some of the violations found in state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services inspection records The Ledger obtained for 15 grocery stores in Polk County. The stores belong to Wal-Mart Stores, Publix Super Markets, Winn-Dixie, Target Corp., Bravo Supermarkets, Save A Lot Grocery Stores, Sweetbay Supermarket and Aldi.
Inspectors also found evidence of rodents or flies in six of the stores whose reports were reviewed. These stores belonged to Bravo, Wal-Mart and Winn-Dixie. (see more)