Inwood-based kosher baker Zomick’s Food Products that supplies breads, cakes and pastries throughout the nation has a troubled inspection record, according to NY State Department of Agricultural records, but passed its most recent review.
The Inwood production site was last inspected on Feb. 23. “We plan to inspect again at the six-month period,” said Joe Morrissey, a spokesman for the State Agricultural Department.
Zomick’s had failed 10 of the past 17 most recent inspections between 2005 and this year, Morrissey confirmed. During those failed inspections vermin such as cockroaches, beetles, mice and flies were found in the Inip Drive facility. In July of last year up to 50 live cockroaches were seen in and around the crevices of wheels on a work-table in the cookie baking section. Last October, inspectors found and destroyed 13, 50-pound bags of cornmeal infested with beetles.
Since 2005, Zomick’s has paid $1,200 in penalties, according to Morrissey, a spokesman for the State Agricultural Department. Lubicom, a Brooklyn-based marketing and consulting firm being used by Zomick’s, said a $600 fine was paid in 2007 and $600 in 2011.
In 2006, Zomick’s failed three consecutive inspections. But it requires four or more failed inspections in a row for the state to begin license revocation proceedings, Morrissey said. “Depending on the circumstances, we can take actions such as penalties, license revocations or injunctions for failure to comply with the law,” he said. “This establishment has pre-viously failed a number of inspections, but not four or more consecutively.”
Zomick’s officials said through Lubicom that it has worked to overcome these problems and this year adopted new employee training and implemented “tough” new food- safety protocols in all areas of the bakery, including receiving. “The results: we passed the last inspection by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets in February,” company officials said. “In addition, we increased the monitoring by a reputable pest company.”
The company’s status as a kosher baker wasn’t affected by the failed inspections, Zomick’s officials said. “Since these violations did not affect the products themselves, it did not compromise either food safety or the kosher status of the product,” they said.
Company officials stated that in June 2012, they voluntarily had inspectors from the National Sanitation Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides standards development, product certification, auditing, education and risk management for public health and the environment. Zomick’s procedures passed the NSF’s review, according to the Inwood baker. NSF spokeswoman Greta Houlihan could not confirm the information citing client confidentiality concerning the conducted facility audits.
Two Lawrence residents, Jacqueline Handel and Jeffrey Hirth, purchase Zomick’s products. Handel remembers when they were in Far Rockaway and the store on Central Avenue. “Never had a problem with Zomick’s, with anything,” she said. “All our bread is Zomick’s, the kids eat all their pastries,” Hirth said. We’ve never seen vermin in anything.”