Grocery store gross-out: FOX 32 investigates

Grocery store gross-out: FOX 32 investigates

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's where you go to feed your family, but just how clean is your neighborhood grocery store? Our FOX 32 investigation uncovered some stores that have a few dirty secrets.

City health records tell part of the story: food at the wrong temperature, fruit flies, and even mouse droppings were found in stores of all sizes throughout Chicago.

One such store was King Foods & Grocery on South Halsted in West Pullman. The tiny market was cited multiple times in January because of mouse droppings--not only under the front counter and on shelves, but also on torn bags of chips that were displayed for sale.

When FOX 32's Kori Chambers first showed up to the King Foods & Grocery store, the manager and an employee said they were shut down for a few days but there was nothing to worry about. In fact, they were adamant that things were all cleaned up.

It only took a minute before we uncovered clear evidence to the contrary—rate droppings in a box.

"Pull that box off the shelf," a female employee said in response.

Immediately after, our cameras and reporter were asked to leave.

Problems like these aren't just confined to small markets. In examining more than a year's worth of city records, failed inspections were relatively common. It happens whenever the city finds what it considers to be an immediate or potential health risk.

Here's how the major chains stacked up:

5% of Chicago Jewel-Osco stores that were inspected since the beginning of last year failed. The most recent failure was on South Wabash on the Near South Side. An inspector found fruit flies in the bakery, seafood areas, and produce areas.

Dominicks failed 9% of its city inspections in the same time period. The most recent failure was on North Damen in West Ridge for small flies, ants, and 20 mouse droppings found in the bakery area. They were also cited for having food at improper temperatures inside the deli department.

Mouse dropping were also found in a backroom of a Walgreens on South Michigan in the Roseland neighborhood.

Walgreens has failed 24% of its city inspections since the start of 2012.

Meanwhile, Whole Foods failed 18% of its Chicago health department inspections. The most recent failure was at a location in Lakeview. The inspector noted more than 20 small flies in rear prep areas.

Wal-Mart and CVS failed 19% and 23% of their city inspections respectively. Their most recent issues included overflowing dumpsters with garbage piled-up so high the lids were not able to close.

Statements from all of the major chains stated that whenever issues occur, they're quickly addressed.

The same can't be said, however, for King Foods & Grocery. After our visit, we contacted the city. They sent inspectors back out there and issued another citation. If the problems aren't fixed by next week, the store's license will be suspended.

If you have a complaint about a grocery store in Chicago, call 311. To see city reports and recent inspections in your area, visit the City of Chicago's site.

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