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NY Bagel Shop Fined Over Poppy, Seasame Seeds

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on May 10, 2012 6:57 AM

New York City's health inspectors are on a rampage. A bagel seed rampage, that is. And your city may be next.

B&B Empire Bagel Cafe was reportedly fined $1,650 for allowing sesame and poppy seeds to fall onto the floor while its bagels were being made. They weren't reusing the seeds, but merely allowing them to accumulate on the floor until they had finished seeding and baking the bagels.

Few think the bagel seed fine is fair.

The owner definitely doesn't think so, and according to the New York Post,  he appealed the fine twice. It's unclear whether he had the help of a Manhattan business attorney, but he lost both times.

The Health Department says B&B Empire Bagel Cafe was fined in October for "a heavy accumulation of seeds in the same area that many mouse droppings were found." No mice were found during an August inspection, and there were no droppings last month. The shop was awarded an "A."

Manager Alex Gormakh told the Post that it's impossible to make seeded bagels without making a mess. They fall off at every turn. Other local bagel businesses agree, and told UPI that no amount of sweeping can prevent seeds from being on the floor.

Nonetheless, the bagel seed fine stands.

The business has since invested in $900,000 worth of preparation tables and a special vacuum, according to the Post. That's money that would arguably be better spent expanding sales.

There's not much B&B Empire Bagel Cafe can do about its bagel seed fines other than attempt to change the law. Though health laws are necessary, not every food business fits the same mold. If you think your local health laws fail to consider this fact, it may be time to take action.

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