MAHONING TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WKBN) – A box truck full of food bound for restaurants in Mercer and Lawrence counties was stopped and its contents trashed after a traffic stop in Mahoning Township.
According to Mahoning Township Police, a box truck owned by New Sheng Hung Inc., of Cleveland, was stopped Wednesday on West State Street during a routine traffic stop when police discovered that the refrigeration unit was not operating.
“There was loose vegetables, meat products, dairy products all cross contaminated. The temperature was above a refrigeration or freezing temperature,” said Mahoning Township Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer James Laurenza.
The truck was transporting meat, dairy and vegetable products to a Chinese restaurant in New Castle and three restaurants in Sharon, according to the truck’s log book.
Investigators found that the internal temperature of the meat and dairy products was over 60 degrees, and the cargo was completely thawed. Cross contamination was also evident with the remaining cargo.
The contents of the truck were discarded into a dumpster. None of the food was delivered to the Pennsylvania restaurants, but the truck made deliveries to restaurants in the Youngstown area prior to the traffic stop. Investigators said in a news release that the food was “not fit for human consumption.”
Youngstown area restaurants that took delivery from the truck:
- House of China – Boardman
- Grand Buffet – Boardman
- Sawa Steak House – Boardman
- Golden Bowl – Struthers
- Shangrila Express – Boardman
- Bamboo Garden – Austintown
- Little Hunan – Austintown
WKBN First News Reporter Jeff Levkulich went to several of those restaurants on the list and asked them what they plan to do with the food. The owners of Little Hunan, The Bamboo Garden and the House of China all let us record them throwing out the food. All of them said they had no idea about the conditions their food was transported in until our report.
“I can’t believe that because why would they even give us spoiled food in the first place. That makes us look bad here,” said Nicole Myers, an employee at House of China.
Our station alerted the District Board of Health who spent most of the day going to all the affected restaurants to make sure all the contaminated food was destroyed.
The driver told police the refrigeration unit did not work and had not worked properly for one or two months. He also told the officer he broke down for two hours on Interstate 77 outside of Cleveland without refrigeration.
“The temperature here yesterday was around 78, 79 degrees and in the baking sun out on the highway, I am sure it raised the temperatures in that cargo box well over the ambient temperature in the air,” Laurenza said.
New Sheng Hung, Inc. and the driver of the truck will be cited once the investigation is complete.