Talk about fowl play! A Brooklyn Heights Key Food was under state scrutiny last week after a woman alleged that store workers placed a new “sell by” label on her chicken — 11 days after the date on the original label had passed.
Customer Marie Viljoen claims that employees at the supermarket on Atlantic Avenue purposely changed the date on a spoiled D’Artagnan chicken to clear out the last of their higher-end poultry stock.
“I got it home [on May 12], cut off the wrapping and smelled something wrong immediately,” Viljoen told us. “The ‘sell by’ date on the label said May 16. … But the dopes left the original ‘sell by’ sticker underneath it: May 5. Eleven days earlier.”
The pictures Viljoen provided are telling: the back of the label on her uncooked bird does appear to have a ‘sell by’ date sticker of May 5, found directly underneath the May 16 label that is displayed to customers.
What’s worse, this particular market has had food problems in the past. The state Department of Agriculture and Markets scolded managers in April for “critical deficiencies” — the lowest ranking — in their food, according to one inspection report. In the current allegation, inspectors from the agency found no wrongdoing when they inspected the market a day after Viljoen’s complaint.
“Results of the inspection show the establishment in substantial compliance in that no critical deficiencies were observed,” the report said.
On Friday, employees at the market — which is at the corner of Clinton Street, and recently changed management — say that allegations like Viljoen’s happen all the time.
“People try to make money that way,” said Manager Edwin Rodriguez. “It’s absolutely not true. The inspector came in the next day, and everything’s fine.”
He rolled his eyes when shown Viljoen’s pictures, saying that his workers have no reason to re-label an expired product.
But Viljoen countered, saying that the inspection came after she bought the last of the high-priced D’Artagnan chickens.
“And I’m not trying to ‘make money’ off them — I haven’t even got my money back for the purchase,” she said. “I still have that damn chicken in the freezer.”