What Is Your Supermarket NOT Telling You?


I will sing the praises of chemical-free, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, GM-free foods any day of the week, but I have to tell you that even natural and organic foods may not be as safe as I thought!

Your supermarket, and maybe even your health food store are not telling you something very important: how many ‘Critical Violations’ have they had?

A Buffet Of Botulism

The Center for Disease Control says over 70 million Americans are taken ill annually, while at least five thousand of them die from food poisoning. While some of these cases can be attributed to improper handling of food on the consumer’s part, too many of the cases are due to Critical Violations by the stores that sell you your food. greatpeople me

According to the DHS Environmental Health Division, these are the five risk factors that contribute to food borne disease:

Improper holding temperatures of potentially hazardous foods

Inadequate cooking, cooling or reheating

Poor personal hygiene of food handlers

Contaminated equipment

Food from unsafe sources

Most bacteria grow between 40 and 140 degrees. Cold food needs to be kept colder and hot food needs to be hotter than those numbers.

Restroom water needs to be at least 110 degrees for bacteria to be killed on employee’s hands and employees need to wash their hands after every restroom use.

Meat cases need to be cleaned of spilled juices and blood. Refrigeration units need to be sanitized on a regular basis…yes bacteria even grow in the freezer cases!

Toxic pesticides and cleaning products need to be properly stored and kept away from foods and cases.

Rodents and flying and crawling bugs need to be kept out of the food and the store.

All of that sounds easy, logical and highly achievable, yet the real story is often vastly different.

Buyer Beware!

Any one of these scenarios has actually happened, and can happen to you:

A cockroach was baked into a cookie in freshly baked cookies in the supermarket

A mouse trap sits on the floor in the meat cutting section

Milk, meats, breads and other packaged goods are sold weeks and even months after their expiration dates

Moths fly out of cereal boxes and flour bags

Ripped packages allow entry for bugs

Bugs on fruit in the store get taken home with you

The person at the deli counter sneezes into their gloved hand and then picks up the roast turkey for your sandwich

The gloved hands that handled the raw shrimp now handle the mashed potato spoon

The meat slicer is not thoroughly cleaned and all the meat and cheese cut on it the next day is contaminated

The chicken chunks were not kept hot all morning. You take home a bacteria laden lunch

The meat cutter forgets to wash his hands after a long bathroom break

Dead bugs and mice do not get removed from under the shelving or freezer cases

Broken glass is swept and kicked under shelving for your child to find

If you don’t believe that these violations are occurring on a regular basis in YOUR store, then buyer beware!

The Dirty Truth!

A recent Dateline MSNBC survey ranked the worst supermarkets according to their various ‘Critical Violations’. The bold number reflects the number of violations for every ten inspections.

Safeway – 25

Albertson – 24

Publix – 22

Kroger – 17

Winn-Dixie – 14

Sam’s Club – 12

Costco – 12

Wal-Mart – 9

Save-A-Lot – 9

Food Lion – 8

Organic food, natural food and mass produced foods are all at the mercy of the standard of the store that you buy them in. Keep your eyes open and before buying foods that are handled, cooked, cut and packaged by others, look around. Inspect boxes and packaging for tears and openings. A little more time spent in considering any product and how it has been handled, can mean the difference in your health, and maybe your life.

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