Days after employees were seen pushing carts full of unwrapped raw pork from Winton into a Bay Area grocery store, few questions are being answered.
Photos were taken by Loretta Seto showing exposed meat entering 99 Ranch Market in San Jose on Jan. 14. Calls on Monday to the meat wholesaler in Winton were not returned.
Meat wholesalers are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and not subject to the kind of inspections the Merced County Public Health’s Division of Environmental Health might carry out on a restaurant or grocery store, according to county spokesman Mike North.
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The USDA did not return calls for comment on Monday.
The county confirmed that Jim's Farm Meat has a valid business license, which dates back to March 2016. North said it was not immediately clear if the business existed before that under a different name. It's registered to Jim and Wan Lau, North confirmed.
The entry gates to Jim's in the 5800 block of Winton Way were locked Monday afternoon, and its website is not accessible without a username and password.
The Facebook page has since been shared more than 2,300 times, drawing cringes and exclamations of "gross," "disgusting" and "ew."
Speaking Saturday morning to The Modesto Bee, Maria Moon, office manager at Jim's Farm Meat, confirmed the meat came from her company and said it is investigating the matter, which it learned about on Friday.
She said she could not explain why the two employees – shown in the photos carting the raw meat into the store – would have removed the meat from the wrap and cardboard combo bins where she said the pork generally is housed during delivery.
She said both employees have been fired.
"We are thoroughly investigating the incident," she said. "This isn't anything we typically do. When we send our products out, they are always in a combo bin and wrapped. That's how it left our facility."
She said she wasn't sure if there was some sort of request on the part of 99 Ranch Market in terms of how the employees got the meat into the store.
NBC Bay Area said the Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health is investigating the matter.
The Mercury News published this response from the grocery store at Hostetter Road and Lundy Avenue: "On behalf of 99 Ranch Market, we are terribly sorry for this incident that happened in one of our stores. 99 Ranch Market is committed to food safety and customer satisfaction. Therefore, we are taking the necessary steps to resolve this issue by investigating this case further and filing a complaint against our vendor."