Buyer Beware: Five of Brooklyn’s Filthiest Supermarkets
By Kristin Iversen
Now that there are letter grades on restaurants all over the city, New Yorkers have been lulled into a false sense of security about just how sanitary the conditions are in the places we get our food. But, well. Feel secure no more, because The New York World has just released a very handy guide to New York’s dirtiest supermarkets, clarifying what exactly the problems are in all the places we shop for food. And those problems? They’re pretty alarming! Let’s just say, there will be rodent feces. Also, a “baseball bat used to grind meat” and “leaking pink goop on a meat counter cutting board.” Lick it up, New Yorkers. Lick it up. Or, you know, don’t. Here’s five supermarkets in Brooklyn that have some of the most alarming health violations in recent history.
Met Foods; 385 Broadway, Williamsburg
Violations at this Met supermarket include the fact that the “meat grinder and tenderizer have buildup of old, hardened and encrusted food residues on food contact surfaces,” and also that the “cutting board table and raw chicken on storage racks are located immediately below dripping refrigeration systems.” These violations were fixed during the inspections, so here’s to hoping that the Met will continue to keep up the higher standards that, well, maybe should have been their original standards to begin with. For neighborhood alternatives, the nearby Key Food (575 Grand Street) and Associated (639 Grand Street) haven’t had any health violations in years.
Garden of Eden;180 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights
The name Garden of Eden might be evocative of a produce-filled paradise, but let’s not forget that some really dark stuff went down in the original garden of Eden, and this supermarket has some problems too. Although, at least, no snakes have been found. Yet. But what has been found is even worse than snakes. Things like “meat room grinding machine was noted to have a buildup of old encrusted meat on food contact surface” and “two live winged insects and 8-10 dead winged insects noted to be present on the top of the cappuccino machine” and “food contact surfaces of the seafood area ice machine were noted to have an accumulation of mold and grime.” In fairness to Garden of Eden, these violations (and many, many more) were all from 2012, and the store had no noticeable violations after being inspected this year. Still. A lot of dark stuff was going on there not too long ago. A lot.
Met Foods; 197 Smith Street, Cobble Hill
Well, at least the Garden of Eden isn’t the worst place in the area. That honor goes to the Met Foods on Smith Street, which received violations this year including the discovery of “approximately 20-30 fresh appearing rat droppings were noted to be present under the retail vinegar display shelves” and “sewage was observed to be backed up and dried around a drain vent adjacent to the fruit and vegetable preparation area.” Rat droppings? RAT DROPPINGS? No, thank you. Luckily, there are plenty of other options around the neighborhood, including Trader Joe’s on Court Street.
Met Foods; 3008 Fulton Street, East New York
So, in case you haven’t noticed, Met Foods is not looking to good here. But this Met Foods in East New York just might be the worst supermarket in all of Brooklyn. Some of the violations include “50-100 fresh appearing mouse droppings and one mouse carcass are present on retail floor under packaged bread products gondola shelf” and “10-20 fresh appearing mouse droppings are present on retail floor adjacent to bagged sugar display shelves” and “10-20 fresh appearing mouse droppings intermingled with gnawed materials are present on bottom shelf of retail area snack foods display.” SO APPARENTLY THERE’S BEEN A BIT OF A MOUSE PROBLEM. Ugh. This is especially terrible because this part of Brooklyn is already short on supermarket options.
Associated; 1413 Avenue J, Midwood
I don’t know, maybe I’m just particularly squeamish about rodent feces? Because they clearly don’t seem to be such a big deal for these supermarkets. If they were a big deal, they’d probably do a better job at trying to, you know, GET RID OF THEM. Anyway. This Associated in Midwood has a bit of a rodent problem, as noted by the presence of “over 200 fresh/old intermingled mouse droppings are present on the floor throughout the basement storage and processing areas.” Yes. “Over 200 fresh/old intermingled” rodent turds. Yuck. At this same store, in 2011, “16lbs of cat foods [were] found to be rodent defiled with gnaw marks.” So these aren’t just any mice. These are mice who are clearly trying to strike back at their feline oppressors. I think we should all be scared. Very scared. But besides being scared? Let’s also all consider buying food from the sanitary stores on this list, and from our local farmer’s markets. No one wants rat poop in their food, do they? No. I didn’t think so.