Food safety at grocery stores

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In the aftermath of Irene, Martins had to go through a list of inspections. The store checked the temperature of the foods, then an internal auditor double checked, and that's not all.

"We actually had visits from the health department and the department of agriculture," said Martins Regional Vice President, Jim Scanlon.

Martins passed with flying colors, but not all food stores could be as reliable.

That's why shoppers like Autumn Harbour who lost power for nearly 5 days takes extra care when filling the cart.

"I have been checking the due dates," said Harbour.

Scanlon says the business was hit with a loss when power went out Saturday. Meat, seafood, and dairy had to be quickly moved into cooler or freezer trucks out back - others were just thrown out.

"The things we would have to throw out, probably immediately are the things in the chefs case and any of your hot foods," he said. "The things that are prepared hot and ready to eat those get thrown out."

With power back on, like Martins, many stores are now restocking the refrigerated sections that were not supported by the generator during the outage.

Shoppers should carefully watch out for spoiled meat. If it looks brown and smells bad, it's probably bad to eat. Even if it hasn't reached its due date, food could potentially spoil.

"As you look at any cut of meat it should look fresh," said Scanlon.

If you're doubtful - don't buy it.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.