Mattapan grocery store answers to unsettling practices

By: Stephanie Coueignoux

Updated:

BOSTON - A local grocery store is under investigation after unsettling cell phone video surfaced showing a customer wheeling in an animal carcass in a shopping cart.

The video shows a man transferring a dead animal from the back of a truck and into a shopping cart. He then takes it into the store. 

Austin Morda, the store manager at America's Food Basket in Mattapan, told FOX25's Stephanie Coueignoux the meat department has been cutting meat for customers for years. Though, he says, he didn't know it was illegal.

"I was not directly aware this is a violation," he said. "Had I known, I would have never offered this in the first place."

He said he thought the practice was in the best interest of customers, to help them with their own meat.

Morda said the meat was never sold on store shelves, it was just cut up and given back to the customer who brought it in. 

The video was posted on Facebook last week and has been shared continuously since, with customers reacting to the video in disgust.

>>You can see the video here (WARNING: Graphic language)

Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner William Christopher said the animal shown in the video is likely a goat. He said his biggest concern is cross contamination. 

"We don't know the source," Christopher said. "We don't know where it's coming from."

The inspection report obtained by FOX25 shows the city "advised [the store] to discontinue immediately. Establishment must provide detailed invoices on record specifying where all meats presented for sale are purchased."

Christopher said this is the first time his department has received a complaint like this. 

Despite the seriousness of the recent violation, Christopher told FOX25 he doesn't believe the store should be fined. 

"Compliance and understanding is what we are after," said Christopher. " Fines don't solve the problem."

Our investigation also found in the past 15 months America's Food Basket had reports for dozens of other violations, including rodent droppings found under food shelves.

We also found no store in Boston has a permit to have customers bring in their own meat.

FOX25 did reach out to the store's corporate offices, but so far, have not heard back.

Boston inspectors will hold a hearing Tuesday morning to discuss the violations.

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