The Fresh Grocer partially reopened Tuesday following an inspection from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health that shut down the supermarket temporarily Monday after finding several instances of health violations including “heavy accumulation of mice feces” and “foodborne illness risk factors.”
The inspection report indicated that the establishment was required to stay closed for at least 48 hours, when it would be permitted to undergo re-inspection and pay a $315 fee. By midday Tuesday, however, the Department of Health sign ordering the supermarket to “cease operations” in red ink was no longer displayed on the glass doors and the Fresh Grocer appeared open for business.
Officials from the Fresh Grocer told The Daily Pennsylvanian Wednesday that the store was re-inspected Tuesday morning by the Philadelphia County Board of Health, which approved the store's re-opening "after we took immediate action to address their concerns."
Fresh Grocer employees said Tuesday that the general supermarket reopened Tuesday morning, but that the meat and food preparation area of the supermarket, where the health violations were most concentrated, would reopen Wednesday. Many employees were concentrated in the closed section Tuesday, scrubbing the surfaces and cleaning the floors behind the stoves.
The employees would not answer follow-up questions and were not able to confirm whether the inspection would take place Wednesday. Fresh Grocer employees directed The Daily Pennsylvanian to contact the corporate office, which confirmed Wednesday that the general store re-opened Tuesday morning and later in the day, the kitchen and prepared foods department re-opened.
The initial inspection took place on Monday from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m, and the sign that has since been removed outside the store read that "occupancy after 8/19/19 at 1:07 p.m. is illegal.” The re-inspection took place Tuesday morning.
Other violations listed in the report included an accumulation of food residue, “visible physical evidence of rodent / insect activity,” “potentially hazardous” ready-to-eat-tuna, and wet food debris in the bakery and deli cases.
"The Fresh Grocer of Walnut Street has successfully addressed the issues brought to our attention by the Philadelphia County Board of Health. After receiving the findings from a routine inspection on Monday afternoon, we temporarily closed the store to take immediate action," the Fresh Grocer's official statement read. "The store is back in operation, open 24 hours a day, and our team will remain diligent to ensure that store conditions exceed sanitation standards."
This story was updated Aug. 21 at 2:26 p.m. to include comments from the Fresh Grocer officials.