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A sign that was posted outside the Fresh Grocer indicated the closure due to health violations.

Credit: Isabella Simonetti

The Fresh Grocer closed temporarily early Monday afternoon due to health violations including rodent and insect activity and foodborne illness risk factors. 

The supermarket, located adjacent to Penn's campus on 40th and Walnut streets, was ordered to cease operations following an inspection from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The inspection took place on Monday from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m, according to the inspection report. 

A sign posted outside the store noted that "occupancy after 8/19/19 at 1:07 p.m. is illegal," adding that to reopen, the Fresh Grocer must undergo re-inspection and pay a $315 fee. According to the inspection report, the establishment must remain closed for a minimum of 48 hours. 

During the inspection, officials found three instances of "foodborne illness risk factors" and six instances of "lack of good retail practices," according to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer's Clean Plates project. The foodborne illness risk factors included an "accumulation of food residue" on a slicer in the hot kitchen area, storage of tomatoes and seafood salad at temperatures that were too high, and "potentially hazardous" ready-to-eat tuna salad that was held for over 48 hours and not labeled with its date of production. 

The Clean Plates report also noted "visible physical evidence of rodent / insect activity," including a "heavy accumulation of mice feces" in the food preparation area and mice droppings in the storage area for food packaging materials. 

Other violations included low grout in the bakery area, a lack of protection for food storage containers, wet food debris in the bakery and deli cases, and insufficient floor cleaning in the kitchen area. Inspectors also found that cold water was not available for hand washing in the main kitchen, but this violation was corrected on-site. 

Signs posted on the door of the Fresh Grocer noted that the supermarket "will be closed until further notice" due to refrigeration issues. 

Earlier this year, Chipotle Mexican Grill on campus was closed for 48 hours following a Public Health Department inspection that found "imminent health hazards" at the location. 


Editor's Note: The Fresh Grocer reopened Tuesday after re-inspection. Read the latest updates here.

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