A bakery with a live rodent (again), 3 Presidentes and a 7-Eleven: Miami’s Gross Grocers

A live rodent, yellow slime on fish and one, two, three Presidente Supermarkets lowlight this latest edition of Miami’s Gross Grocers, supermarkets, grocers and retail bakeries that failed state inspection.

The Florida Department of Agriculture inspects all grocers, including supermarkets, retail bakeries, food processing, distribution and storage facilities. Unlike restaurants inspected by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, failed Department of Agriculture inspections don’t close the establishment. But, an inspector can put Stop Use Orders on parts of the business. Enough of those and the business might decide it can’t or shouldn’t open.

Also, when it comes to proper food safety, food kept in hot holding storage should be kept at 135 degrees or above and food kept in a freezer or cooler should be kept at 41 degrees or below.

With that established, let’s get to the grossness. In alphabetical order...

La Patisserie Bakery, 14540 W. Dixie Hwy., North Miami-Dade: Inspector Simeon Carrero listed 25 violations.

There was a lot going on in the backroom, starting with “several small flies” and “several glue traps with dead insects not removed as often as needed.”

What wasn’t going on was drying of hands after using the restroom handwash sink — there were no paper towels — unless folks flapped arms or wiped their hands on their pants or shirts.

Speaking of washing hands, a food service area employee touched money, then worked with open foods without washing hands.

Also, in the food service area, “several meat, chicken and cod patties, pasta and corn meal grits with vegetables” measured from 119 to 133 degrees inside a hot holding unit. All of them got tossed.

In the backroom, food service, processing areas, coolers and freezers, Inspector Carrero, “observed soil, mold and debris throughout the establishment.”

Presidente Supermarket, 8100 N. Miami Ave., North Miami-Dade: Inspector Jose Pavon listed 26 violations.

In the meat and produce area, Inspector Pavon saw “multiple knives stored between the wall and prep tables.” Apparently, nobody was bothered by the crumbs, grease and gunk that gets between the wall and prep tables unless it’s constantly cleaned.

The meat area’s band saws weren’t cleaned every four hours.

In the front processing area, “multiple breads were stored uncovered inside the walk-in freezer,” which seems a little lazy considering 200feet of generic plastic cling wrap is cheaper than a gallon of gas and boxes of it are on the shelves.

The seafood area ice maker had a “mold-like substance throughout the ice maker interior chute guard.” But, that kind of coordinated it with the “whole big fish with yellow-like substance throughout” in the walk-in cooler.

Whole salted fish in the reach-in display case measured 60 to 65 degrees, which violates not only general good food safety, but “salted fish box states keep refrigerated.”

The produce area’s three-compartment sink contained “soil buildup throughout” the three compartments.

Presidente Supermarket, 621 NW 62nd St., Miami: Inspector Jose Pavon listed 30 violations.

The violations that Inspector Pavon found at this Presidente on Nov. 30 sound similar to the ones he found at 8100 N. Miami Ave. on Nov. 29.

There’s the “mold-like buildup throughout the interior walls” of an ice machine. This one sat in the meat area, where the band saws were dotted with “old food particles” from not being cleaned every four hours.

There were “multiple whole fish stored uncovered...inside the walk-in seafood freezer.” (See aforementioned plastic wrap comment.)

Also in the seafood area, Inspector Pavon saw “multiple raw fish with yellow-like slime throughout located inside the ice display case.”

The problems in the seafood area’s display case continued with whole salted fish that measured 50 to 55 degrees. “Multiple pots” of beans and pork roast cooked days earlier measured 45 to 50 degrees in the walk-in cooler, making it as likely to be a pot of make-you-sick.

Out in the retail freezers, there were “multiple packages of foods with ice build up.”

The produce area attracted “multiple flies, too numerous to count throughout the back areas.”

At least the sanitizer solution in the kitchen three-compartment sink wasn’t too weak. But, it was too strong, coming in at 500 parts per million when it should be around 200.

Presidente Supermarket, 3322 NW Seventh St., Homestead: Inspectors Wenndy Ayerdis and Guisella Uribe listed 47 violations on Nov. 30.

Who, after the last two and a half years, would underestimate the importance of decent handwashing? Well...

In the meat area, a “food employee was observed rinsing fingertips and then drying hands, instead of following the proper hand washing procedures.”

Then again, the meat processing area didn’t have soap or paper towels at its handwashing sink. The men’s restroom used by customers and employees didn’t have hot water and these folks have until Dec. 30 to get that straight, as well as putting a handwashing sink in near the steam table.

“There’s no hand sink available near the steam table for the convenient use for the number of employees present working in this area,” the inspection said, “with the closest hand sink on the deli side servicing over seven employees at any given time and employees using the ware wash sink to wash hands.”

If they don’t get that handwashing sink installed by Dec. 30, there’s the threat of “administrative action, including placing all food-related equipment in this area on a Stop Use Order until compliance is achieved.”

Oranges washed and in the holding basket at the orange juice machine weren’t protected from contamination (spit, snot, etc.). “Heavy dried-on milk accumulated on a steam wand” being used more than four hours without being cleaned. The same lack of proper cleaning left food debris on the band saws in the meat, seafood and meat processing areas.

Kitchen utensils, pots and pans were washed and rinsed, but not sanitized. But two out of three ain’t bad when compared to the “old, black food residue encrusted on the can opener blade” near the warewashing sink.

And even the clean utensils got mistreated, such as the “washed trays placed on the rack near the stove were wet nested water pooled between the trays” and “clean knives found wedged between the wall and the warewash sink.”

Cleaning ice machines seems to be a bother at Presidentes. “Black, mold-like grime encrusted all over the interior housing of the ice machine and within the ice making chute/dispenser.”

In the backroom, an ice scoop sat “uncovered on the dust accumulated on the exterior of the ice machine.”

The meat processing area’s warewashing sink didn’t have hot water coming out of both faucets.

Now, to the food. With a kitchen hot holding unit and a retail area hot holding unit operating badly enough to get smacked with Stop Use Orders and a reach-in cooler getting removed from service, management threw out enough unsafe food to feed Homestead Gardens.

Boiled yuca; mojo sauce; french fries; chicken quarters; steak; chopped chicken; shredded pork; beef stuffed yuca; pizza empanadas; beef stuffed potato; ham croquetas; ham and cheese empanadas; spinach empanadas; shredded pork with rice meals; chicken legs; smoked pork chops with vegetables; pork ribs; whole pork shoulders; sliced ham; and sliced cheese.

7-Eleven, 10721 SW 56th St., Kendall: Inspector James Zheng with “multiple inspectors present” listed 13 violations.

An employee took the temperature of a steak and cheese taquito “with a soiled thermometer.”

Inspector Zheng noticed turning the hot water handle on the backroom handwashing sink was pointless wrist exercise, seeing as how it didn’t produce running water.

But his real problem and the target of a Stop Use Order was a reach-in cooler with an ambient temperature of 50 degrees. The hot dogs, pork egg rolls and milk inside that cooler, as well as the milk and half-and-half cream in another cooler all went in the garbage.

Victoria Bakery, 1130 W. Flagler St., Miami: Inspectors Fausto Ferrer and Araceli Harvie listed 12 violations.

Again, this is NOT a Vicky Bakery location.

There’s a unique diversity here, with enough of a food service side to be inspected as a restaurant by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation but operating mainly as a retail bakery, so inspected by the Ag Department.

And they managed to fail each inspection on the legs of a live rodent.

The restaurant inspection “featured” a live rodent walking across a grill (presumably one that wasn’t turned on). On Nov. 16 inspectors Fausto Ferrer and Araceli Harvie saw a “a live rodent on a glue trap under a pallet inside a storage room where there are bags of flour and sugar stored. No product was observed comprised. Flour and sugar were removed from the storage room and placed on a rolling cart.”

Still, the storage room got smacked with a Stop Use Order.

Other problems included “baking trays and rolling carts with accumulation of grease and encrusted food” and “preparation wooden tables with encrusted dough residues at the seams.”

This place passed a re-inspection on Wednesday and the Stop Use Order was lifted.

Victoria Bakery, 1130 W. Flagler St. DAVID J. NEAL/dneal@miamiherald.com
Victoria Bakery, 1130 W. Flagler St. DAVID J. NEAL/dneal@miamiherald.com