Grand Union rated one of city’s worst

By Daniel Arimborgo

A Grand Union Supermarket in Little Neck has the dubious distinction of being designated one of the two worst supermarkets in Queens.

A survey conducted by state Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein's (D-Bronx) office rated the Grand Union Supermarket at 249-26 Northern Blvd. as being one of the worst in Queens.

The other supermarket listed as one of Queens' two worst was an Associated Supermarket in Far Rockaway at 552 Beach St.

Klein called on city supermarkets to clean up their acts at a news conference Sunday in front of the Ernest Klein & Company International Supermarket in midtown Manhattan, which failed two consecutive state sanitary inspections in July 1999 and October 1999.

The findings were the result of a compilation by Klein called “Jeff Klein's Worst New York City Supermarkets for 1999” based on the results of supermarket inspections by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets from December 1998 through early January 2000.

Klein's survey also listed supermarkets that passed state inspections in recognition of the hard work employees do to keep their stores clean. The Pathmark Supermarket at 42-02 Northern Blvd. in Astoria and Compare Foods at 85-15 Roosevelt Ave. in Jackson Heights both made the blue-ribbon list.

Among the unsanitary conditions cited at the Little Neck Grand Union were corn meal infested with grain insects, dead roaches under bread shelves, and sub-standard sinks for employees, according to Klein's survey.

The supermarket did pass a January inspection.

Nearly 54 percent of New York City's supermarkets failed one or both of their two most recent inspections, the study showed.

“They perpetually leave items like milk and orange juice on the floor,” said Gary Rosenthal, a Little Neck resident, about the Grand Union. Rosenthal said he saw meat left unrefrigerated numerous times and that he brought the violations to the attention of management, but has not heard back from them.

A September inspection of the Little Neck Grand Union revealed 10 pounds of cornmeal infested with grain insects and 2 pounds of canned chili beans being held at an unsafe temperature, according to state inspection records referred to by Klein. Inspectors seized those items.

In addition, a hand washing sink in the seafood department was inaccessible and sinks in the bakery, meat department and bathrooms lacked hot water and paper towels, the survey found.

A manager at the store declined comment and referred all questions to Grand Union's corporate office in New Jersey.

A spokeswoman from that office did not return phone calls.

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