MONROE, N.C. -- Strips of meat were found drying on the roof of a local grocery store. What started as a routine air filter change exposed this health hazard hidden from plain view.
Customers outside the Compare Foods in Monroe say they're disturbed.
"That's nasty. That is real nasty," said one customer. "Drying meat on the roof that people eat—are you serious?”
Steve Akins was doing a routine air filter change on an adjacent store’s roof and saw what looked like a small shed, which peaked his curiosity, so he walked over and took a video.
"You can see them dangling around in there with their fan blowing on it," said Akins.
Akins says he went straight to the Union County Health Department.
"I figured, you know somebody is going to get really sick over this. I mean really sick. You got bugs out here, dirt out here, meat that smelled so bad," said Akins.
The Health Department made them take down the shed and dispose of all the meat. A Compare Foods spokesman told NewsChannel 36 it was an isolated incident. They didn't know it was happening and they always abide by health codes.
But in looking at a past health inspection, in June of this year they were cited for having dried beef tips hanging on a sheet pan, hidden in a closet in the produce area. Akins believes after that they found a new hiding place.
"The only way they're getting this up there is (if) you've got a ladder that goes straight up. So they would have had to tie a rope to it to pull it through the roof hatch," said Akins.
"You've got all this stuff just building up hitting that meat. It was just a very unsanitary thing they're doing," he added.
Compare Foods was not fined by the Health Department because the store cooperated and disposed of all the meat. The owner says despite this incident they have always maintained a health rating above 90.