Local News

Inspections found mice at N.C. foodmakers

Posted May 15, 2009 2:55 p.m. EDT
Updated May 20, 2009 3:40 p.m. EDT

— How safe are the foods you eat, and how clean are the facilities that produce, store and sell them?

It is the task of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Food and Drug Division to track the approximately 9,000 grocery stores, bakeries and food plants to ensure they meet food safety standards.

In March and April, inspectors sent letters to seven companies statewide about unsanitary conditions ranging from problems with mice to concerns about outdated food items, refrigerator issues and other health hazards.

Neomonde Baking Co. Market on Beryl Road in Raleighgot a letter April 28 outlining the dead rodent and rodent droppings inspectors found under a pallet in the stockroom. The visit was a re-inspection. In November, inspectors found products that included ingredients which may aggravate allergies were not properly labeled.

A Neomonde spokeswoman said the problems were isolated incidents and were corrected completely within 24 hours. Additional procedures were put into place to make sure they do not occur again.

Neomonde was one of four places with rodent issues.

The Beach Bread Company in Kitty Hawk received an April 14 letter about dozens of rodent droppings on work surfaces, on a cart for a portable mixer and in other areas of the bakery.

Owner Carol Giese said the store took measures the day of the inspection and that there have not been any problems since.

A re-inspection of a Piggly Wiggly on Pine Street in Warsaw turned up a continuation of problems there, according to an April 16 letter.

During a December visit, an inspector found dead mice on a glue board and a live mouse on another. On the re-visit, the inspector found dozens of rodent droppings, some of which were in a box with soft-drink bottles. Managers tossed two bags of chips that rodents got into.

General Manager Gary Parker said the store was cleaned and believes a renovation in a building next door might have caused the problem.

Inspectors also found a dead mouse at an Amazing Savings store in Black Mountain, according to an April 16 letter. But the bigger issue, according to inspectors, was the $1,400 worth of expired food and medicine for sale on store shelves.

The Department of Agriculture will re-inspect the seven companies in June to see if problems are corrected.

Last year, 42 grocery stores, bakeries and plants closed after inspections, and the division seized and destroyed 189,000 pounds of potentially contaminated foods.

Records from August to March show there were letters to 35 companies with problems – many were serious, including rats at a Mi Ranchito grocery store in Graham, decomposing mice at an IGA Foodliner in Wendell and insect-infested candy at a Rite-Aid in Raleigh.