GIANT Heirloom Market at 3401 Chestnut St. was ordered to cease operations by the Philadelphia Department of Health on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 18. A notice was stamped to the front doors of the building stating the violation, as well as declaring any occupancy after 11:50 a.m. as “illegal.” It is currently unclear when or if the location will be reopening.
Around 5:00 p.m., a small group of people stood in front of the door, some trying to shop there and some curious about the commotion’s cause. This Heirloom Market is the largest grocery store on Drexel’s campus, with the other grocery alternatives being the convenience stores Old Nelson, 7-Eleven, Wawa and Northside Dining Terrace.
Seven to ten people could be seen inside the store from the front windows, most wearing Heirloom Market clothing. A single security guard was standing within the entryway. Employees were also seen cleaning in the produce department, sweeping the floors and moving the coolers. In the checkout section, multiple registers were partially opened, and wooden mouse traps had been set and placed underneath the kiosks. Two to four people were in this area, and a large vacuum was present.
The Department of Health order sign stated that the building had failed to comply with Title 6, Chapter 300 of the Philadelphia Code, which covers food safety. No further information was listed regarding the specifics of the violation. The document also stated that the business would have to be reinspected and certified by the Health Department in order to reopen, which would require a payment of $315 for reinspection. However, GIANT Heirloom has the right to appeal their violation within the next 30 days.
UPDATE 1/20: According to the inspection report, GIANT Heirloom Market failed to comply with multiple foodborne illness risk factors and public health interventions.
Mice feces was observed on the floor of the walk-in cooler and shelves along with “gnawed bread, chips and cookies,” mold in toilet room sinks and hot water being unavailable at one of the handwashing sinks.
The following was written in the summary statements of the report: “Due to imminent health hazards observed during this inspection, the establishment has been issued a Cease Operations Order and must discontinue food operations immediately. The establishment cannot operate for a minimum of 48 hours. The establishment cannot operate until the required fee is paid and the establishment is approved by the Department to resume operations.”
UPDATE 1/24: Two days after the initial inspection report, a follow-up report identified several foods in the cold prep unit that were stored at a higher temperature than required, including tuna salad and macaroni and cheese.
The report also required the facility to be cleaned to “avoid attraction of pests” and for maintenance tools to be properly stored “so that they do not contaminate food, equipment, utensils, linens and single-service and single-use articles.”
According to the summary statements section of the report, “The Cease Operations Order has been lifted and the sticker can be removed by the establishment based on inspection results. A reinspection to assess compliance will be conducted at a later date.”