ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA DOH inspectors found live and dead mice in Dean and DeLuca.
ALEXANDER BROWN/THE HOYA
DOH inspectors found live and dead mice in Dean and DeLuca.
Live rodents and poor disposal of waste and sewage were among the critical health violations that caused the Georgetown location of Dean and DeLuca to close Wednesday.

The eatery was cited for six critical and eight non-critical health violations. According to Najma Roberts, communications director for the D.C. Department of Health, the gourmet grocery store was found to have “gross and unsanitary occurrences or conditions that may endanger public health, including but not limited to a heavy infestation of vermin.”

This is not the first time that the store, located at 3276 M St. NW, has been shuttered for critical health violations. In February 2013, the eatery was cited for the presence of rats and cockroaches, which was attributed to the presence of construction next door.

In light of the repeat violations, Dean and DeLuca was designated a Class 4 Risk on a scale of five on both the 2013 and 2014 reports.

“[This] means that it would become a higher-risk food establishment than perhaps a gas station or a restaurant that maybe has not been closed. So what that means for us is that they will get inspected more frequently than the standard once a year,” Roberts said.

Included among the six critical violations were a lack of separation of foods to prevent cross-contamination, a failure to maintain proper food storage temperatures and a lack of proper date marking on produce. While two of these violations, improper date marking and the maintenance of food at improper temperatures, were able to be corrected on site, the eatery remained closed until it was able to correct all critical violations Thursday afternoon.

Live and dead mice were also found upstairs in the food preparation area, as well as downstairs by the cheese display case.

The store received especially low marks for prevention of food contamination, after being found not in compliance for the categories “insects, rodents and animals not present,” “contamination prevented during food preparation storage and display,” “wiping clothes: properly used and stored” and “washing fruits and vegetables.”

The inspection also pointed to the lack of signage inside the storefront instructing employees to wash their hands and poor disposal of sewage and waste water.

Roberts said that the store would not open unless all health code violations had been corrected.

“Our goal is to assist in the corrective action and make sure that that establishment is safe and healthy,” she said.

Georgetown students expressed alarm at the health inspection results.

Annamarie White (MSB ’17) said that she was unlikely to continue to buy food there.

“That’s quite alarming, and I’m glad that I don’t buy cheese there. It’s such a well-regarded store that has such high values, that makes me think maybe I’ll just stick to Vittles,” White said.

After a recent encounter with uncleanliness at the eatery, Paola Peraza (SFS ’17) was not surprised by the violations.

“I went into Dean and DeLuca a couple of weeks ago to buy glass cups, and all of the ones on the shelves were dusty, chipped or covered in fingerprints. I bought a couple anyway but had to wash them multiple times before using them,” Peraza said.

Abigail Watson (COL ’17), however, was confident that the grocer would be able to address the violations accordingly.

“That’s disgusting, but I still love Dean and DeLuca. I figure if they close it down and clean it out, they’ll be good to go,” Watson said.

Dean and DeLuca did not respond to requests for comment.

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