For six years, one of Delaware’s largest polluters has avoided paying a half-million-dollar fine for serious air pollution the company says “is not material” anyway.
Maddy Lauria, The News Journal

A Wilmington deli was temporarily closed by the health department after an inspector found food “visibly sweating” and many areas of the business to be dirty. 

Ray’s Deli, at 1200 Northeast Boulevard in Wilmington, was closed by the Division of Public Health on May 6 due to “imminentent health hazards” stemming from “gross unsanitary conditions,” according to the inspection report. A manager said Monday afternoon the business fixed all the issues the day of the inspection and reopened the following day.

During the course of the inspection, which initially stemmed from a complaint, the state health official found that the food items were “visibly sweating,” the report said. All deli meats, including ham and turkey, as well as cheese and eggs needed to be discarded. 

Raw chicken was being prepared in the same sink where “unclean utensils” were located, the report said. 


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The inspector found a “pile of soiled linens (cloths) on top of grease traps” and the restroom unclean, the report said. Walls were “splattered with dried up food” and debris was seen under all equipment. 

Several mops were found sitting in mop buckets containing dirty water and all of the shelving was “saturated with food debris and crumbs,” the inspector wrote in the report.

The state official also found that the owner decided to add a food operation at the front of the business, which included a pizza oven, two bain maries, three deep freezers and one sink. The walls were not smooth and not easily cleanable, the report said.

The inspector told the business to stop the new food operation immediately and that a plan review application must be submitted in order to extend the cooking area. The business now has a permit to make pizzas, the manager said Monday. 


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In order to reopen, the restaurant needed to thoroughly clean all floors, walls, ceilings, shelving and restroom, the report said. The restaurant was fined a $50 fee. 

At least 20 food establishments have been ordered closed by the state since the start of 2019. 

Customers who want to anonymously report unsanitary conditions at Delaware food establishments and restaurants can call a consumer complaint hotline at 302-744-4736. Inspectors follow up on complaints.

Contact Meredith Newman at 302-324-2386 or and on Twitter @MereNewman. 

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