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Possible perishable food shortage next week in my local
Just a miniscule example of how easily food supplies can be interrupted.

Quote:Leak at food warehouse causes local shortages

Posted: Saturday, April 25, 2015 10:00 am

By ALEX DAVIS Era Reporter | 0 comments

A perishable food shortage could be over early next week at grocery stores across the region, a week after a big wholesale distributor from New York state sustained an ammonia leak that resulted in more than a $1 million loss of products.

The colorless, gaseous leak at the Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc. of Westons Mills, N.Y., at about 3:30 a.m. April 20 resulted in the disposal an of unknown quantity of dairy, meat and produce and forced area store officials to temporarily order certain products elsewhere, according to Bob Ketchner, president and CEO of the cooperative food distributor. Dry good supplies were not impacted.

bells meat 300x250 Ortho WNY

“The key factor is the safety of our members and the community,” Ketchner told The Era on Friday.

The Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc. has 30-plus stores in Pennsylvania alone, including Costa’s Super Market in Smethport and Eldred, Costa’s Food Center in Coudersport and Olivett’s ShurFine Food Mart of Emporium.

The grocery cooperative could be back in full operation on Monday, according to Ketchner.

Meanwhile, the biggest loss has been fresh and bagged salads at Costa’s Super Market in Smethport, said Paul Costa, who has stores in Smethport and Eldred.

“Everything else we’ve been able to bring in from other places,” he said.

Other products were impacted, as well, including yogurt, eggs and meat at the Smethport store, Costa said.

“We do have alternative sources for this kind of thing,” he said, including from Bradford and Jamestown, N.Y.

But in his 40-plus years in the business, Costa has not seen a partial shut down of Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc. No matter, Costa applauded the wholesale grocery cooperative for its daily updates, adding that officials were quick to respond to the problem.

Throughout the week, officials from the New York Department of Agriculture & Markets and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have been at the 1587 Haskell Road facility investigating, Ketchner said.

Also, the products are mainly being hauled away by Casella to its landfill in Angelica, N.Y.

Ketchner expects the perishable food side of the cooperative will be back in operation on Monday. Food that Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc. distributes comes from all over the country, he said.

In neighboring Potter County, at Costa’s Food Center, one of the managers, Betty Costa, said the challenge is not this week, but next. She said officials aren’t sure what products to expect from Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc.

As of Friday, as a whole, the store has enough supplies, but it has had to rely on some side sources, too, Costa said.

“We’ve been scrambling and surviving so far,” she said.
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