Mouse droppings, food gunk, lukewarm meat: Stomach-churning violations at city’s high-end grocery stores


Associated Supermarkets has had 739 violations since 2008, whereas Westside Market and Trader Joe’s has had one.

The Whole Foods on the upper West Side is a foodie nirvana that sells top-quality cuts of grain-fed beef, pricey produce like organically grown heirloom tomatoes and a mouth-watering selection of fine French cheeses.

It’s also been found to have mouse droppings in the loading dock, crusty food gunk on the cold-cut slicers, and lukewarm barbecued ribs and mac-and-cheese sitting in the prepared food section.

That’s what state food inspectors discovered this year when they descended on the fine-food emporium on Columbus Ave. and 97th St., the New York World website reported Monday.

Inspectors have found 27 violations since 2008 at the Whole Foods on Columbus Ave. and 97th Street.

Bryan Smith

Inspectors have found 27 violations since 2008 at the Whole Foods on Columbus Ave. and 97th Street.

“It’s actually making me sick to hear about mouse droppings and crusting on the meat grinder because I just shopped for some meat and I got bread from the bakery as well,” said Jay Simeone, 40, who lives in the neighborhood. “They really better get their act together.”

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Those stomach-churning deficiencies were the most recent of 27 found at the store since 2008 by investigators for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets. But the Whole Foods location, with 12 violations from July 2012 to July 2013, was not even the city’s worst offender.

Rat dropping were found on the loading dock of the upper West Side's Whole Foods.

ewastudio

Rat dropping were found on the loading dock of the upper West Side’s Whole Foods.

The grocery store with the most black marks against it during the same time period was the similarly highfalutin Garden of Eden in Brooklyn Heights, with 20, records show. Among other things, inspectors who visited the outpost — where the motto is “Temptation in Every Aisle” and Roquefort Papillon cheese goes for $ 28 a pound — found crusty meat residue on numerous surfaces and mold and grime on the seafood area’s ice machine.

A manager there declined to comment.

The store with the most violations since 2008 was the Met Foods on Fulton St. in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn, with 72, the site found.

The Key Food grocery chain had 668 violations reported since 2008.

Todd Maisel, New York Daily News

The Key Food grocery chain had 668 violations reported since 2008.

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That’s for everything from mouse droppings to six actual mouse carcasses found.

Trader Joe’s and Westside Market had the fewest violations among grocery chains, according to the survey, with just one each reported since 2008. Union Market had only four.

"It's actually making me sick to hear about mouse droppings and crusting on the meat grind her because I just shopped for some meat and I got bread from the bakery as well," said Jay Simeone, 40, who lives in the same neighborhood as the Whole Foods on the upper West Side.

JULIE JACOBSON

“It’s actually making me sick to hear about mouse droppings and crusting on the meat grind her because I just shopped for some meat and I got bread from the bakery as well,” said Jay Simeone, 40, who lives in the same neighborhood as the Whole Foods on the upper West Side.

The filthiest was Associated, which has 130 stores in the city and racked up 739 total deficiencies in five years. It was followed by Key Food with 668 violations and 447 for C-Town.

Managers for the chains couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Since 2008, the C-Town grocery store chain had 447 violations reported.

Craig Warga

Since 2008, the C-Town grocery store chain had 447 violations reported.

The Columbus Ave. Whole Foods did much worse last year, when state sleuths found mouse droppings by the basement bakery and in shelves where the cereals, rice and dog food products are stored.

They also found more gross gunk on the meat grinders.

And when they couldn’t determine how long the soups had been stewing in the pots, they ordered 12 pounds of prepared food thrown out as a precaution.

Whole Foods spokesman Michael Sinatra insisted the store is on top of the situation. “In the rare instance that a violation occurs, citations are taken very seriously and we work closely with the Health Department to ensure that issues are resolved quickly,” he said. 

csiemaszko@nydailynews.com


Lifestyle – NY Daily News

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