The slogan “Oh thank heaven for 7-Eleven” means nothing to D.C. Council member Trayon White, who recently blasted the convenience store’s Ward 8 locations for selling expired food to his constituents.
On Aug. 27, White (D) first visited the 7-Eleven store off of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SW in the Bellevue neighborhood and saw several outdated food items. The council member then went to the 7-Eleven on Good Hope Road SE and observed instances of expired food items, also.
“it’s just out of control that [for] residents [who] already have a lot of health disparities living in Ward 8, that we are allowing someone to give out old food,” White told WTTG-TV (Channel 5).
White said he visited a 7-Eleven in Tysons Corner, Va., and didn’t see any expired food items.
The D.C. Department of Health’s Food Safety and Hygiene Inspection Services Division performs inspections at food establishments throughout the city using regulations found in the D.C. Food Code.
A department spokeswoman told The Informer on Aug. 30 that a sanitarian investigated the Bellevue 7-Eleven on Aug. 27 at 1:15 p.m.
“There were several violations cited during that investigation including the following: improper storage of food and food contact items, improper hair restraints for food handlers, improper storage of wiping cloths, unclean shelves/cabinets/drawers, unclean floors, and storage of unused food equipment in the establishment,” the spokeswoman said. “A notice was given and a follow-up inspection will be performed.”
The spokeswoman noted the inspection report “does not indicate any foods that were observed to be offered for sale that were expired.”
She did not mention the Good Hope Road store in any communications with The Informer.
On Aug. 30, The Informer conducted a field investigation into Ward 8’s 7-Elevens and a store in Ward 3. The Informer visited the Bellevue store and, aside from a single 7-Eleven breakfast burrito dated Aug. 28, none of the food items had expired.
However, at the Good Hope Road store, two Halfpops Curiously Crunchy Popcorn had dates of March 21, 2019, and July 10, 2019, with both labeled “Best By,” meaning they should be consumed by that time.
By comparison, the 7-Eleven on Connecticut Avenue NW in Ward 3’s Cleveland Park neighborhood had no expired items after a thorough examination by The Informer.
The spokeswoman said food manufacturers provide dating to help consumers and retailers decide when food is of best quality. She added that except for infant formula, dates are not an indicator of the product’s safety and are not required by federal law.
“The D.C. Health Department does require that foods which are prepared on-site at a retail restaurant are used and discarded within seven days,” she said.