Saturday, February 18, 2012
Avella wants city to inspect grocery stores
From Douglaston Patch:
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.