FAIR LAWN A health inspector found a decomposing rodent, live mice and contaminated food at a Dollar Tree store in a shopping center that was oncetargeted for possible redevelopment.
The borough's Health Department slapped an"unsatisfactory"label on the entrance doors two days before Christmas. The result of the sanitary inspectionreport wasthat the store had to pull all food items from the store through Jan. 7, when it got the go-ahead to resume selling food.
Dollar Tree is the primary tenant of a Fair Lawn Avenue shopping center that the Planning Board described in August as deteriorating, poorly designed and having unsanitary and "unwholesome" conditions.
On Dec. 23, a health inspector visited the store and foundone live and one dead mouse, droppings and debris. Evidence of food contamination included eaten sunflower seeds and rice grains.
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The inspector ordered that the store stop selling food immediately, "as rodent droppings and decomposing rodents may pose a risk to the public and staff," the report reads.
"We want to make sure the food is safe to sell to the public," Health Officer Carol Wagner said.
For a food establishment to be considered unsatisfactory, it must be found to have one or more violations that constitute gross unsanitary or unsafe conditions. The inspector will immediately ask the management to voluntarily cease operation until the unsatisfactory conditions no longer exist, according to Fair Lawn's Health Department.
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Prior to Dollar Tree being able to sellfood they had to clean and remove all debris, remove all rodent carcasses and droppings, provide documentation from a pest control company stating that the mice are eliminated, discard food that may have been contaminated, and clean the storage room.
After noting improvements, the borough permitted the store to resume selling food.
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Kayleigh Painter, a spokeswoman forDollar Tree Inc., said, "The safety of our associates and customers is our first priority, and we take situations like this seriously."
She added, "We worked with pest control services and the health inspector to resolve the issue.Upon re-inspection, we were provided approval to sell food at this store location.We are committed to providing our customers with safe, sustainable and affordable products."
The Planning Board has recommended that the center be considered for condemnation and redevelopment, but borough officials said in October they would negotiate with the owners, Plaza Road Shopping Center LLC, rather than pursuecondemnation.
ShaylahBrown is a local reporter forNorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community,please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
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