Today’s news:

Bellerose residents slam halal market over violations

Bellerose civic leaders and City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) are calling on a halal meat market in the neighborhood to get its act together after it was cited for more than a dozen violations, including three labeled as “critical” by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Super Halal Meat Fruits & Vegetables Inc., at 253-06 Hillside Ave. in Bellerose, racked up three “critical deficiencies” by the Agriculture Department, including live flies in the meat processing area flying around and landing on meat contact and non-contact surfaces.

The agency also said there were live flies on produce and in a dumpster and a meat fat storage area.

“The whole thing is kind of gross,” Weprin said.

Citing a letter from the agency, the councilman said the market was assessed a $600 penalty, and the agency called the business a “chronic violator,” which means the market will face inspections every 30 days instead of every 60 days.

“I am surprised that these folks haven’t learned that their neighbors are watching them and cleaning up their act,” the councilman said.

Sherafat Dulel, manager of the meat market, claimed the business does not have any violations.

“I don’t know about it,” he said. “Everything clean.”

Weprin said complaints about the business to his office are “greater than we have seen on any other establishment in the neighborhood.”

Angela Augugliaro, president of the Queens Colony Civic Association, placed an item about the violations in her civic’s newsletter.

“I just feel the people in the area should know what’s going on in this place,” she said. “We don’t understand how they haven’t been shut down. If this was a restaurant with all those violations, it would have been shut down immediately.”

The Agriculture Department said the violations are “serious deficiencies which may result in the assessment of civil penalties and other actions provided by law, including administrative hearing or court action. The deficiencies must be corrected immediately.”

Aside from the critical deficiencies, there were more than a dozen general deficiencies cited by the agency, including standing water by dumpsters and soaked dust and debris by the basement stairs and an adjacent floor area.

Richard Hellenbrecht, of the Bellerose Commonwealth Civic Association, said he wants the meat market to fix the violations.

“If they would completely correct the violations … I personally don’t have a problem” with the meat market operating, he said. “We want businesses to be successful, but we don’t want businesses that create problems for the well-being of our neighbors.”

Hellenbrecht said he was also concerned about possible zoning and building code violations at the property, saying the Bellerose business is in violation of rear and side yard requirements.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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