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How Clean is Your Market?

Is your supermarket clean enough to prevent the spread of food-borne illness? Store managers and inspection doctors from the California Food and Agriculture Department's Meat Inspection Division recommend you search for evidence in the following places:

 #1Shopping carts Spilled or poorly wrapped beverages, produce and meats that leak into carts can contaminate your food.   #2Bathrooms Bathroom cleanliness indicates employee and store practices, as well as management's seriousness about sanitation.  #3Aprons and handling gloves These should be fresh and changed frequently. They should always be worn when handling food.  #4Shelves and display cases There should never be spattered blood anywhere (don't forget to check the ceilings). Spilled dry and wet foods should be cleaned immediately.  #5Bulk bins Make sure they are sold in either plastic or wooden cases with plastic liners. Nuts, grains and other bulk foods can be a breeding ground for insects and rodents.  #6"Sell by" and freshness labels Check for official-looking stamps; they are sometimes altered. If there is any question, immediately take the item to the store manager, not the department manager.  #7Local newspapers In most cities, unsanitary food establishments that violate local health codes are reported here.  #8Inspection records If you are concerned about your store's cleanliness, talk with the store manager or ask for a copy of the store's inspection record.  #9Delivery docks Are they clean? Where is the Dumpster located? It should be covered and away from the store.  #10Checkout lanes Look for spills and food remnants that may contaminate fresh or uncooked items before they're packed.

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How Clean Is Your Market?