A couple of months ago I was helping a good friend of mine turn little cucumbers into dill pickles and as usual, it was taking longer than we had hoped. The plan of getting home to cook a decent dinner for the old fella was fast escaping. I proposed the idea of ordering Hot Stuff Pizza from the Chester Supermarket and having my husband deliver it to us. At that time my friend replied, “Order from Hot Stuff? Have you not heard about the worms??” I was stunned. How could I, a public health official of this county, not know that such a thing had occurred? But she proceeded to tell me of a mutual friend who had ordered chicken strips from the local deli and discovered live “maggots” crawling around inside of them. Since then, she said, people have been very leery of ordering anything from Hot Stuff. Upon further questioning, I learned that the picture of these “maggots” crawling inside of the chicken strips had been widely distributed on FaceBook, but no one thought to inform the Health Department until one of the PA’s at the local clinic heard about it and called the State Health Department (DPHHS) several weeks later. Apparently our county sanitarian paid a visit immediately when she heard about the incident.
So this was late September when the incident came to my attention. It was the end of October when I attended a meeting of the county health board and I had the opportunity to ask Sarah Robbins, our county sanitarian, about this incident and what she found during her inspection. She replied that she did find some of the reports to be true and she was working with the manager at the Supermarket to rectify them.
I visited the store and talked to Joe Lundin, the new store manager. He confirmed the report and said that he was working with Sarah Robbins to address the issues. He said that the incident actually took place in July, before he had taken the position as manager and before the new owners were on the scene. When he heard about the incident, he called the supplier of the chicken and they have since switched suppliers. Sarah also indicated that there were reports of rancid meat at the meat counter which were not pulled after the “sell by” date. Joe reported that when those complaints were made, the meat department was without a meat manager. Since that time, he has worked to train the people working in that area to remove items that are not sold before the “sell by” date and has brought in a past employee who was the former meat manager to oversee.
Joe has worked very hard to bring these health concerns up to compliance. He is sincere in his efforts to make the necessary improvements. The intent of this blog is to put the negative rumors to rest and assure customers that they can again purchase meal or snack items from Chester Supermarket or Hot Stuff with confidence that they are safe to consume.
I also would ask our residents to inform the Liberty County Health Department immediately if there is ever a concern of this nature or any perceived threats to our health or safety. There are people in place to take care of issues of this sort but they can’t deal with them if no one reports it.
Oh, and in case you are wondering, we did order the pizza and it was delicious!
Karla Kulpas, RN
Liberty County Public Health nursePosted: by OverlieP