Most of us assume our supermarkets are clean and hygenic because of how quickly disease would spread if mice were pooping on our food or if festering meat were left on a grinder. We assume employees are careful and that regulations keep us all safe. Well, hold on to your insides, because this handy map of New York City's foulest markets proves how oblivious these assumptions really are.
Reporters at the New York World pored over five years of inspection results from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for food stores in the five boroughs, pulling out out every instance of a "critical deficiency." All of the failings have been plugged into a database, which you can search by zip code or address.
The results, as TNYW points out, are frequently surprising. Some of the grossest supermarkets in the city are located the fanciest neighborhoods. For example, to all the rich people on the Upper West Side: Do NOT go to the Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus. That high-end supermarket rang up 27 violations within a five year stretch. I did my own survey of the grocery stores I've frequented during my time in New York, and they all had major violations in the last five years, too.
Grody markets aren't unique to New York City, of course, so kudos to the New York World for highlighting the gnarly reality buried in public information. It'd be even better if this information was available for the whole country. [The New York World]