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Dirty Dining presents Gross Grocers at Smith's and Cardenas

Posted at 10:45 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-28 02:53:42-04

In this week's second helping of Dirty Dining, Contact 13 goes to the market. 

Two of them, actually, that tied for the highest demerits as Dirty Dining presents Gross Grocers.

Smith's manager: "You guys can't film in here."

Cardenas manager: "Before you start anything, you guys are not allowed to film here."

These two valley supermarkets have more in common than health code violations. Neither wants to explain why they wound up with 35 demerits and C grades.

The manager at Smith's says we have to talk to corporate public relations.

There was quite a bit wrong at the deli inside Smith's on Flamingo and Sandhill roads -- beginning with flying insects, bags of moldy bread and visibly spoiled cherry tomatoes. 

Fried chicken, tenders, wings and baked chicken had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures. And get this -- inspectors found cooling logs had been falsified. 

Potentially hazardous foods have to be cooled quickly to control bacteria. Improper cooling is a major cause of foodborne illness. 

Health District pictures also show a container of raw chicken tenders on a shelf with ready to eat foods. Smith's employees were spraying chemical sanitizer around open food. And there was a badly damaged box of exposed and adulterated bulk cheese. 

The health report doesn't say how it happened, but it looks like something chewed through the cardboard and started gnawing on the cheese.

Smith's corporate public relations office in Utah wouldn't allow anyone here in Las Vegas to go on camera.

They sent a statement saying, "Food safety is our top priority and all items identified were swiftly addressed. Associates were retrained in key areas and we are pleased that as of October 25, the store is back to its A grade."

Across town at Cardenas market on Meadows Lane and Decatur Boulevard -- had another 35-demerit C grade. 

At the snack bar, inspectors saw a food handler pick up a cockroach and then immediately go cut tomatoes. 

There was also a roach in the cold service area and flies in the back prep room. 

Cooked beans were almost a month old.  And there were ten packages of expired alfalfa sprouts - -some beginning to liquefy. 

Customers who watched us walk up asked what was going on. Once they found out, they immediately got back in line to get a refund on the lunch they'd just ordered.

Other issues at Cardenas include raw and broken eggs stored next to sauces. And uncovered food in the walk-in cooler where shelves were lined with aluminum-wrapped cardboard that was extremely dirty with food debris and juice.

The manager tells us that we can't film there.

But they couldn't keep inspectors from taking pictures to show packages of raw bacon on top of exposed bell peppers, dirty shelves and floors, and kitchen wares in clean storage soiled with food debris.

No one from Cardenas was available to go on camera either. 

Public Affairs Director Marco Robles sent the following statement:

"In response to your recent inquiry regarding an inspection of our store kitchen and food handling procedures, a list of deficiencies was identified during said inspection and all the deficiencies have been immediately corrected.

Cardenas takes great pride in providing the best quality service and providing the finest quality food products.

We have taken immediate action to assure that our internal controls and food preparation procedures meet all regulatory standards and exceed the highest expectations possible.

Furthermore, we have been in communication with the Southern Nevada Health District and they have commented on our proactive managerial control and their willingness to work with us to achieve our common goal of service and return to our original grade 'A' rating."

Cardenas still has a C but they're hoping for re-inspection next week.