Supermarket Fined For Violating COVID-19 Regulations; Selling Meat After Expiration Date

ASHLAND – A supermarket chain was fine by the Ashland Board of Health for violating COVID-19 cleaning regulations this month.

This was the second time Shaw’s supermarket on Route 126 has violated the COVID-19 regulations this summer.

An inspector for the Town of Ashland also confirmed that the supermarket had expired meat for sale for customers.

On July 28, a consumer called the Ashland Health Department to complain that Shaw’s was selling meat with expired dates, and was not cleaning its store properly at its Pond Street location.

The inspector went to the store and did a full sanitary inspection, he told Board of Health members at their last meeting, the first week of August.

He confirmed during the inspection of sub-par cleaning and meat for sale with expired dates.

“I did some observing of the front end. I feel like the cleaning going on there wasn’t up to par,” the inspector said. he said he observed several individual go through the self-checkout lane, and the “cleaning was not very consistent.”

The inspector found food particles accumulated on a door handle and on the floor, along with other issues.

“I did see several packages of meat that were out of date by a couple of days,” he told the Board of Health members.

The new store manager said there has been some turnover, and that the manager on that night of the inspection still needs to do additional training, and is new to her position.

“Ultimately I take full responsibility for what happens in the store,” said the new manager.

He said the assistant custom service manager was recently promoted to evening manager but had been not yet food certified.

“How do you explain these things? This doesn’t happen in a single day? said Ashland Board of Health member Koduvayur Narayana, about the food on the door handle and the other uncleanliness issues noted by the Town of Ashlan d inspector.

“Poor management,” said the Shaw’s manager, who added it is his “responsibility to rectify it.”

“I’m kind of blown away,” said Ashland Board of Health Member Judi Teller. “C’mon guys this is really important – this is a pandemic. You might be the only place people may go out. I just don’t even know how this happened.”

“What you saw in the pictures is not a bad day. It is bad week or bad month. It is totally uncalled for. I myself felt embarrassed,” said the manager who said he has 25 years experience and has never appeared before a Board of Health before.

SOURCE requested the photos and reports from the Town of Ashland. The news media is still waiting for the photos and reports as of 6 p.m. August 13.

“Because there has been past offenses – in particular with this (supermarket) – we owe it to the people we serve to make sure we are not being laxed.,’ said Board of Health member Chris Daniels.

In June, Shaw’s in Ashland was cited for not counting number of customers in the supermarket. Under COVID-19 there is a limit to how many people in be in the supermarket at one time

As this was the second offense, Daniels made a motion to fine the supermarket $300, under the COVID-19 regulations.

While many of the Board of Health members felt the $300 was a slap in the wrist to the corporation that owns Shaw’s, they unanimously voted for the fine.

The supermarket will also undergo additional inspections this year.

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