An analysis of state records shows a history of failed health inspections at the Bayside Waldbaum's supermarket at 35th Street and Francis Lewis Boulevard for issues related to vermin, defiled food and dirty food prep equipment.
According to data supplied by the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets, the supermarket has failed 10 times since August 1999 for these critical violations considered health risks by the state.
While the market passed its most recent inspection on Dec. 4, 2012, the market failed twice in 2012. Once, on May 23, the market failed on what some might call a technicality when it was flagged for a clogged sink in a fruit processing area. However, the market failed in March 12 when inspectors found four roaches scurrying around the basement storage area.
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Calls to Waldbaum's corporate relations office were not immediately returned.
Waldbaum's was one of 124 businesses we analyzed in Bayside-Douglaston Patch as part of a statewide effort to map grocery store inspection results. See the full interactive map above.
Waldbaum's issues with vermin, however, are not new. While in two 1999 inspections state workers flagged the supermarket for what they called an "active rodent infestation," due to feces and scattered glue boards they found. However, the market was also cited in 2000 when inspectors found mouse carcasses stuck to glue boards and again in 2008 when inspectors found up to 100 mouse droppings under gondolas.
The store has also seen its share of insect issues. In 2010, the supermarket was flagged when inspectors found up to three live cockroaches on the premises, and again one month later when they found up to 10 live flies landing on a deli slicer at the market.
While the prevalence of vermin in New York City is by no means a surprise – inspectors discovered rodent-defiled food in 162 inspections in Brooklyn in 2012 – the concern over rats, and the diseases they carry, have lawmakers looking for stricter penalties.
State Sen. Jeff Klein, D-Bronx/Westchester, has introduced a bill in Albany that aims to set up a three-strikes system to close repeat offenders.
“Since 2000, the department has hired additional inspectors and is inspecting supermarkets more frequently,” the bill reads. “But far too many stores are still being allowed to fail four or more inspections before being closed down.”
Another Waldbaum's in Bayside, at 46th and Francis Lewis Boulevard, closed in October 2012.