You may notice a new requirement on the loading docks at some well-known supermarkets, including Costco, Trader Joe’s, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. According to city laws, all grocers must post signage stating that they are prohibited from storing large packages of feed for dairy cows in or around any parts of the facility where people will be walking, driving, taking a bus or even walking through.
This is, in response to ongoing problems with the storage of cow parsnip, a vegetable commonly found on supermarket shelves, that were leading to blindness, nose bleeds and even seizures in people. In an unusual move, city officials in New York have ordered grocers to set up signs immediately. Any sign after June 26 that does not comply with the city’s safety laws could result in an $825 fine. The Department of Sanitation performed a safety test on some of the most widespread store locations in New York last month and were shocked at the results.
In the past, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has had officers hit the loading docks of grocery stores and grocery storage facilities with vacuum cleaners and spray bottles of bleach to uncover the offending packages of dried skin material. But the newest requirements are the first for the city’s Department of Sanitation, according to ABC News. The law requires the signs to be at least two feet tall. That’s not much for most grocery store drawers, but at some locations where goats or sheep are being stored in the facility, it is a major issue for the shoppers around. Some grocers are voluntarily posting signs at their loading docks. Others are carrying signs which state that they cannot handle cow parsnip.
City officials are hoping that the new laws will spur grocers to clean up their act. According to the New York Times, there have been over 100 cases of people getting blindness, nose bleeds and even seizures caused by cow parsnip stored in the facility.
The new legislation required health officials to test more locations. Last month, they tested 25 loading docks at grocery store locations. Those that were found in violation must now post signs in an area that is visible to passersby.