Most locals would agree that Kings Park is a small town tucked away in a sprawling suburbia. Unlike other retail hubs, the community has a handful of restaurants, fewer hardware stores and one local supermarket, which has failed state health inspections three times in a row.
And locals aren't surprised.
In the two inspections the market had in 2012, and its most recent inspection in January, workers from the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets slapped the Key Food market with critical violations, deemed health hazards, leading to failed inspections. Most recently, the store failed due to dirty cutting boards that had food residue caked in the scoring marks and having a hot food holding unit that wasn't reaching a high enough temperature. The market was also cited for 29 general deficiencies, not considered health risks, for issues related store cleanliness, among others.
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However, both of the market's failures in 2012 were related to mouse droppings found in the store. In its July 30, 2012 inspection, state workers found rodent feces in a meat walk-in box, under a work table in a produce prep room, on the floor in the compactor room, under the motor room staircase, in the dairy box and under racks in the produce walk-in box. Before that, on March 13, 2012, inspectors found more than 200 mouse droppings in the stock room.
Key Food corporate parent Hempstead-based Dan's Supreme Supermarkets declined to be interviewed for this story, citing a policy of not speaking to the press.
Patch has accessed the data as part of a region-wide project culling together information on grocery store inspections across New York state to create an exclusive interactive map.
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The string of failures doesn't necessarily represent a chronic pattern for the local market, which happens to be Key Food's easternmost storefront. Before the 2012 failures, the last failed inspection happened on Nov. 1, 2007, due to mouse droppings discovered in the facility.
We did find a pattern, however, when we asked locals in our Facebook following to talk about Key Food.
In just a few hours after we posed a question about the Kings Park market online we had 55 comments, and the only positive sentiment that came out of them related to the workers and not the store itself.
"It's disgusting and I refuse to go in there, even in an emergency," said Cathy Galise. "It should be condemned."
Cynthia Grimley also didn't pull any punches. "It's terrible!!!! I hate going there – but like most of KP I do go there in a pinch!!!! I would rather ShopRite or Meat Farms in Commack!!!!" she said.
"Will only go in a pinch," said Nina Jankowski. "I've seen and reported expired items in the dairy section one too many times! Way overpriced as well. Trader Joe's, IGA or Fairway would be nice."
Jankowski was one of many wishing discount grocery Trader Joe's would take over the space.
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