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Avella Pushes for City Inspection of Grocery Stores

Senator's bill would allow for Department of Health to inspect supermarkets and farmers' markets.

State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, is pushing for the city to be able to inspect supermarkets and farmers’ markets on the grounds that the state does not make evening inspections.

Last month, the senator and state Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, introduced bills that would grant joint jurisdiction to the city’s Department of Health and the state’s Department of Agriculture over grocery stores and farmers’ markets in the five boroughs.

Avella said he believed the city should be able to grade supermarkets as it does restaurants due to the state’s policy of not sending inspectors out after 5 p.m.

He used the recent example of a Bellerose halal market that has racked up more than $25,000 in violations for unsanitary conditions.

“The fact is that the city has no jurisdiction over supermarkets, which is very strange when you think about it,” he said. “The state has no after-hours inspectors.”

He said his bill would also prevent some restaurants from evading a rating.

“I understand that some city restaurants are trying to reclassify themselves as supermarkets to get out of being graded by the city,” he said. “My legislation doesn’t call for grading supermarkets, but it prevents restaurants from getting out of the grading system and being inspected.

John Catsimatides, owner of the Gristedes grocery chain, told The New York Post that he was opposed to Avella’s bill.

“Everything the city does is for revenue generation,” he told the Post. “The city guys are looking to create more fees than the state guys.”

, which operates a chain store at the Douglaston Shopping Plaza, and GrowNYC, which runs the community’s during the summer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

jp February 16, 2012 at 01:17 AM
The fact is that the city has no jurisdiction over supermarkets, which is very strange when you think about it,” he said. “The state has no after-hours inspectors.” Super Halal Meat at 253-06 Hillside Avenue in Queens. Now I know why this store continues to pass inspections and my complaints aren't being investigated.The NYSDA will not give you a reference number when you make a complaint and they don't have the manpower to investigate complaints,especially in the evening.

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