City Paper is not for tourists
Does this look like a scene from a grocery store that should be kept open? If you’re At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange—-and the store is owned by one of your big campaign donors—-the answer seems to be yes.
In a story first broken by Titan of Trinidad, Orange showed up at NoMa’s Sam Wang Produce during a Dec. 21 health inspection and demanded to talk to inspectors’ bosses. Orange’s appearance meant that Sam Wang stayed open longer before it was eventually forced to close, but he claims that he was only trying to arrange a new inspection.
But new photos of Sam Wang taken during the health inspection—-obtained by City Desk through a Freedom of Information Act request—-reveal that, if anything, the Department of Health was underestimating the level of rat infestation at Sam Wang. Rat crap covers the floor, the walls, even egg cartons. Of the 20 pictures provided by the Department of Health, 7 of them have “droppings” in the file name.
There are lots more pictures after the jump, including uncovered tomatoes next to rat poop. But first, consider that even if you don’t go to Sam Wang yourself, you could be eating food that is stored there, since the business acts a wholesaler. As Orange said on Twitter yesterday, filling restaurant orders was one reason Sam Wang needed to reopen.
Eggs at Sam Wang were stored right on top of peppers, which could breed food contamination. During the inspection, employees separated the eggs and peppers.
Here’s some rat poop, right next to uncovered vegetables.
Sam Wang’s walk-in refrigerator was covered with pools of water, according to the inspection report.
Some more rat droppings to close.
Orange’s office didn’t respond to requests for comment, and Sam Wang Produce owner Sang Oh Choi, a frequent donor to Orange’s various campaigns, couldn’t be reached at his business.
Photos by D.C. Department of Health via FOIA