Misleading sign posted at Penn Dutch after listeria issues

Sign claims store closed due to 'catastrophic' roof damage

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - Two signs outside the entrances of Penn Dutch Food Center in Hollywood said: "Please bear with us. We suffered catastrophic damage to our roof and refrigeration system. We will be back in operation as soon as possible."

While there may be roof issues at the facility, that is not the reason Penn Dutch owner Greg Salsberg has voluntarily closed the business.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has ordered a "stop use" order on all food processing equipment and a "stop sale" on all food products in the facility.

According to a food safety inspection report, food and environmental samples at the business tested positive for listeria.

Matt Colson, chief of the Bureau of Food Inspection for the Department of Agriculture, said a sample of ham tested positive for listeria. 

This is the second time this year this has happened at the Hollywood facility.

In February, chicken salad at the same location tested positive for listeria.

Penn Dutch is located at 3950 N. 28th Terrace in Hollywood. You can see it from Interstate 95, between Stirling Road and Sheridan Street, when heading south.

The signs outside the store were taken down after Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier called out the store for the misleading signs on social media over the weekend.

New signs are up, directing customers to the Penn Dutch Food Center in Margate. 

Weinsier spoke with a manager at the Margate location who refused to comment about the problems and the misleading sign that claimed roof issues were the cause of the closure.

"There are roof problems there," the unidentified manager said. 

"But that's not why you are closed," Weinsier said.

"Well, I can't say anything right now. We can call you if anything," the manager told Weinsier before asking him to leave the store.

Listeria infection is a food-borne bacterial illness that can be very serious for pregnant women, the elderly and people with weak immune systems. 

It's most commonly contracted by eating improperly processed deli meats and unpasteurized milk products.

Listeria likes moist environments. 

Penn Dutch in Hollywood may not reopen anytime soon.

According to Colson, the place needs to be thoroughly cleaned and reinspected. He said new samples need to be taken and all need to test negative for listeria.

"We are taking a very close look because this is the second time," Colson said.

Penn Dutch has been in business for 44 years.

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