Local News

Triangle Health Inspectors Look At Store, Meat Department Food

Posted December 11, 2002

— Stores around the Triangle are open again and shoppers are out. Triangle health departments are also out checking to make sure perishable food in grocery stores is OK.

"With the power outages as long as we've had them, I've been very concerned about the food I have at home, so I doubt maybe it's safer here," shopper Brenda Massengill said.

Durham County health inspectors are canvassing supermarkets, grocery stores and restaurants to make sure perishables are OK.

"We'd also go the meat market area and check there, checking the meat products in the display cases," said Donnie McFall, of the Durham County Health Department.

Some shoppers are wary, but they said they are glad the drop-in inspections are being done.

"I check the meat and everything and the smell of it. I look at the dates and the color of the meat," shopper Linda Mills said.

Officials said most stores are sticking to health department rules.

"I'm real pleased with the reports I'm getting from staff that the grocery stores and these chain operators have responded quite well to this situation," McFall said.

However, some shoppers are not convinced.

"I'm trying to hold off to find exactly what's going on before I start to purchase again," shopper Katrina Merritt said.

The rule of thumb whether at a supermarket or at home. When in doubt, throw it out.

Wake County inspectors are doing the same kind of monitoring. In addition to county health departments, the Department of Agriculture also inspects stores selling food.

Wake County health inspectors laid out rules for restaurants that lost power. No restaurant can sell food to the public if its electricity is off. Potentially hazardous foods like raw or cooked meat or raw sprouts must be thrown out if their temperature stays in the danger zone, which is between 46 to 139 degrees, for more than four hours.

If you have questions about food safety, you are asked to call Wake County's Environmental Services at

919-856-7400

.

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