Citing citizen complaints of expired food and maggots in hot chocolate mix, inspectors with the county health department will revoke the food permit for Kyle’s Center Food Market, barring a successful appeal.
Nu Luong, identified as co-owner of Center Food Market on one of the county inspection reports, declined to comment for this story. Center Food Market is on Center St. in Kyle, half a block west of Kyle City Hall.
A Notice of Public Health Nuisance issued on Feb. 12 gave the owners 20 days to request a hearing with the county. On Tuesday, Hays County Commissioners appointed Buda’s Pct. 5 JP Scott Cary to preside over the administrative hearing.
According to Tom Pope with the Hays County Environmental Health Dept., food establishments are inspected twice a year. On Jan. 6, 2009, a routine inspection of the store uncovered “moldy muffins,” as well as expired meats. Subsequent compliance visits to Center Food Market turned up outdated food items, “numerous amount of meats expired by months plus days!” open packages, dented cans and rotten produce.
Additionally, Pope said his office had received two citizen complaints since the beginning of the year – one complaint of expired food and another complaint of maggots in hot chocolate mix purchased from the store.
In recent weeks, visitors to the store have noticed improved conditions, including less expired food and better overall appearance of the store.
“That’s what they’ve told us,” remarked Pope, referring to the owners’ efforts at improving conditions. “We’ve just got kind of frustrated with them because it took getting to this point for them to make changes.”
During the administrative hearing both Hays County and Center Food Market can pre-sent witnesses and evidence. Cary will determine whether to uphold the permit revocation or some other course of action, such as a plan to bring the store into compliance or allowing the business to stay open with conditions.
If the permit is revoked, the owners can immediately reapply for a new permit, JP Pct. 2 Jeff Barton said.
Blas Tenorio owned Tenorio Cash and Grocery for 33 years and sold it in 1986 to Chung Kyeoung Y & Soon. The current owners purchased the convenience store at the corner of Main and Center St. in 2003.