Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket Cited For Critical Deficiencies By NY State Inspectors - Owner John Catsimatidis Responds That Conditions Corrected And Store Passed Follow Up Inspection

Image Of Roosevelt Island Gristedes Supermarket

Last Monday, several readers alerted me to this NY World article regarding conditions in NYC supermarkets. According to the NY World:
... Welcome to your neighborhood supermarket.

At least once a year, inspectors from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets visit every grocery store in the state. We’ve combed through their reports to find what the inspectors call “critical deficiencies” — issues the state deems “an immediate threat to the public health and welfare” — in New York City supermarkets over the last five years.

By typing in an address, intersection, zip code or neighborhood, you can see which chain grocery stores have had serious violations between Jan. 2008 and July 2013, and what those violations were. You can also see if conditions in that store have been getting better or worse.

The Roosevelt Island Gristedes supermarket was among those listed with "critical deficiencies".

Yesterday, I sent the following inquiry to Roosevelt Island Gristedes supermarket owner John Catsimatidis:
Several readers of Roosevelt Islander Online have sent me this story from the NY World, which is a Columbia Journalism School publication, about "critical deficiencies" at NYC supermarkets that were cited by NY State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Since 2013 these "deficiencies" were found at the Roosevelt Island Gristedes:

• One deli food preparation board showed a buildup of encrusted food soil on food contact surfaces. The equipment was then cleaned and sanitize during the inspection.
• One deli meat slicer showed an accumulation of dried encrusted meat residue on food contact surfaces. The deli slicer was then cleaned and sanitized during the inspection.
• The meat band saw machine exhibited a heavy buildup of dark, encrusted meat soil on food contact surfaces. The equipment was then properly cleaned and sanitized during the inspection.
• Bulk salads ( couscous, feta cheese in olives and mixed beans ) in the self-service olives bar were noted at an internal temperature of 58°F for an unknown time. A total of 18 pounds of salads were destroyed under signed waiver during the inspection.
• Cooked chickens and meat loaves in a holding unit in the kitchen exhibited internal temperatures of 105-110°F. Products had been in the unit for an unknown time. A total of 49 pounds of products were destroyed under signed waiver during the inspection....

I was surprised to see these "deficiencies" since following the Gristedes renovation, I have seen great improvement in the store.

Do you have any comment for the Roosevelt Island community regarding this report?
Mr. Catsimatidis replied that he would find out what happened and later that afternoon he and Gristedes Senior VP Charles Criscuolo told me that the 2013 inspection occurred in May and a follow up inspection on July 8 found that the deficiencies were corrected. They added that the Salad Bar internal temperature

deficiency was caused by a manufacturer supplied piece of plastic equipment which has since been replaced with metal that has solved the temperature problem. Also, the employee responsible for the dirty carving board was suspended for several days.

Here's an interview I did with Mr. Catsimatidis during the March 6, 2013 Gristedes Renovation Grand Opening in which he advised the Roosevelt Island community:
... If you have any complaints, let me know...

You can compare the Roosevelt Island Gristedes supermarket "critical deficiencies" to others in NYC at the New York World article.