OXFORD, Maine — The deli in Walmart didn’t violate any food safety regulations, a state Department of Agriculture official said after sending an inspector there Wednesday.
Steve Giguere, acting director of the Division of Quality Assurance and Regulation with the Department of Agriculture, said the inspector couldn’t find any way maggots could have hatched on the chicken that Deena Tracy of Paris purchased Tuesday.
“The cooking logs were impeccable. They were all up to date,” Giguere said after speaking with the inspector. “The holding logs and temperatures were all up to date.”
He said the chicken comes into Walmart frozen. Sauces, such as the General Tso’s sauce used on Tracy’s chicken, comes in single-serving packets for each batch.
Giguere said documentation from Cornell University found that the hatch time from eggs to larvae is 12 to 24 hours. “We can only account for, at most, four hours after cooking,” he said. He said it wasn’t likely that eggs would survive the hot holding period, when the chicken sits under a warmer before it’s served.
“Walmart was right up to snuff,” he said. He said the store’s policy is to check the temperature of the food two hours after it goes out. At four hours, he said, any remaining food is thrown out.
Giguere said the chicken was cooked at 8:50 a.m., two hours before Tracy purchased it. A two-hour temperature check was performed at 10:50, the same time Tracy bought the chicken. Giguere said there was no temperature on the General Tso’s chicken because Tracy had bought the last of it.
Tracy said she found the maggots about two hours after buying the chicken. She posted a video to Facebook two hours and 10 minutes after getting it from the Walmart deli. Tracy ate some of the chicken, not looking closely at it, when she drove home, and said she’s afraid she may have eaten some pieces with maggots.
Giguere said there’s nothing else for the Department of Agriculture to investigate. “I can’t find an explanation for the maggots.”
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