Stew Leonard’s crab meat incident appears to be ‘isolated’
Published 4:16 pm, Friday, August 11, 2017
DANBURY — Investigations from city and state health departments have determined that the incident involving metal pieces found in imitation crab meat sold at Stew Leonard’s Danbury store was isolated in nature and poses no further risk to public health.
The pieces of metal broke off from a knife that was used by a Stew Leonard’s employee to cut a package of frozen imitation crab meat in half, according to the Danbury health department, which inspected the store on Tuesday.
“It seems like it was a simple mistake that happened that they self-corrected immediately,” Lisa Morrissey, director of the Danbury Department of Health and Human Services, said.
A customer discovered the shards of metal after purchasing the product on Sunday from the Stew Leonard’s store on Federal Road in Danbury. The customer returned the crab meat to Stew’s and alerted management of his findings.
The Norwalk-based grocery store chain immediately pulled the remaining containers of imitation crab meat off its shelves in Danbury. Stew’s later pulled the product from the remainder of its stores and ordered a recall.
“Unfortunately, a piece of the knife broke off and our team member didn't realize it,” Stew Leonard’s said in a statement issued Friday. “We checked all of the other existing imitation crab meat and nothing has been returned to the store with a similar complaint.”
The Danbury health department made a surprise inspection of the store on Tuesday. Stew’s received a failing mark of 65. The department gave the store two weeks to correct the problems.
“We worked really closely with Stew’s to go over the report and they are aware of our findings and they will have all of these items corrected,” Morrissey said.
Stew Leonard’s, in a statement, expressed surprise at the low score and vowed to make building improvements to address the issues.
“Our Danbury store has scored in the 90s on these inspections for many years and it was surprising to receive a score less than that,” the statement read. “The majority of the infractions had to do with an aging building and we’ll have to make repairs to floors, paint walls, fix light covers and get new thermometers. The Danbury store’s management team is working quickly to address and resolve the health department’s concerns.”
Jake Tavello, director of the Danbury store and the grandson of the company’s founder, said: “We take events like this very seriously. Our standards are as high as ever.”
The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection visited the store on Thursday after being alerted to the incident. A spokeswoman for the department said the investigation is ongoing, but it appears to be an “isolated incident” and that Stew’s “did everything they were supposed to do” in the wake of the discovery.
The spokeswoman said anyone who discovers a problem with goods purchased at a grocery store may contact the department at email@example.com