Park Slope has a high standard of excellence throughout the neighborhood — great schools, low crime rate, and high-ranking restaurants. And now, the neighborhood can add one more thing to that list: clean grocers.
According to grocery store inspections for the area compiled from New York State's Department of Agriculture and Markets, only one business failed for having one or more critical violations deemed health hazards to shoppers.
Interestingly enough, one business was a big corporate pharmacy chain: Duane Reade on Flatbush Avenue.
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According to the data supplied by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets, Duane Reade has failed health inspections seven times since 2005 for critical violations, which are considered “an immediate threat to the public health and welfare."
According to the data, Duane Reade (296 Flatbush Ave) failed their last inspection date on December 27, 2012 because of one critical violation. Inspectors found 10 to 20 “fresh appearing mouse droppings” on the floor, underneath food storage shelves in the basement storage area.
In the Duane Reade’s long history of violations, the most notable were when inspectors came in and seized candy because it was “rodent defiled.”
Read the list below for details on seizures:
- On May 9, 2005, inspectors seized 4.9 lbs. of chocolate bars and cookies on retail shelves, which were found to be rodent-defiled with gnaw marks. The products were destroyed under signed waiver during inspection. During the same inspection, there were 300 to 500 mixed “fresh-and-old-appearing mouse droppings” throughout Duane Reade on floors of the baling room and basement and on retail shelves.
- On May 4, 2006, inspectors seized one pound of Mr. Goodbar chocolate bars on a retail shelf that were found to be rodent-defiled with gnaw marks. The products were destroyed under signed waiver during inspection. Inspectors also found 5 to 10 mouse droppings on retail candy shelves.
- Two months later, July 3, 2006, 10 ounces of Mr. Goodbar chocolate bars on retail shelf were found to be rodent-defiled with gnaw marks, were seized and destroyed. There were also 5 to 10 fresh-appearing mouse droppings on retail candy shelves with torn wrappers.
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An employee Patch spoke with declined to comment on the violations and the manager was unreachable as of press time.
But for most other establishments throughout the neighborhood who passed their health inspections, how do they keep it so clean in a city where roaches and rats outnumber humans?
The head manager of a Seventh Avenue bodega, The Newsroom in Park Slope (168 Seventh Ave), said he is proud that they have never had critical deficiencies and never failed an inspection.
“Where you work and its cleanliness is a reflection of yourself,” Issam Hassan said, 23, whose father and uncle own the shop, which specializes in candy, deli sandwiches, magazines, and cigars. “Before I leave my house, I shower and shave, so I feel the same way about my store.”
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Hassan said that the first thing they did when his father and uncle took over the space, between First Street and Garfield Place, two-and-a-half years ago was safe-proof it from rats and mice.
“The first thing we did was seal up all the cracks, holes and spaces throughout the store to prevent rodent infestations,” Hassan said. “That was our greatest priority because rodents can squeeze through the tiniest hole, and we’ve been blessed for we haven’t had one since we opened.”
And since their opening date, Hasan said, they clean the deli and store every hour and dedicate two hours a night to thoroughly clean The Newsroom inside and out with disinfectant.
“I bust my employees chops to constantly clean our shop,” Hassan said, who grew up in Park Slope. “I’m sure they get sick of hearing me tell them to clean, but it’s part of our ethics and it pays off to have a clean store.”
What do you think? Are Park Slope’s grocers as clean as the data shows? Let us know in the comments section below!