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Photo of raw meat being hauled in shopping cart in metro Detroit causing stir

Posted: 7:00 PM, May 24, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-25 15:53:12-04

When 7 Action News asked meat distributor Nazem Saad where he disposed of $800 worth of raw meat, he told us it was none of our business.

But Saad is going to have to be more forthcoming with USDA inspectors after witnesses took pictures and video of his workers pulling raw meat out of the back of an old van and dumping the load into shopping carts during a delivery to Warren Food Market Tuesday.

The unsettling images seen on Facebook sparked a spot inspection by state officials at the market Wednesday morning.

A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) tells 7 Action News that their inspectors did not find any beef on site at the market because the store returned the product, but there is an open investigation.

"MDARD will be reviewing records, conducting a traceback to identify how the product got from point A to point B, working with the store to find out what may have happened and what food safety violations may have occurred," said the spokesperson. 

The distributor, Nazem Saad Halal Meat, is based out of a market in Garden City where an employee refused to say anything and even called police on our news crew.

Saad was upset when we reached him on the phone, saying that people are making a big deal out of nothing. He says the shopping cart was used because the boxes broke and his workers were just trying to get the meat into the store.

But one witness who works near the Warren market says this is the second time in three weeks that he's seen raw meat dumped into shopping carts to take into the store.

When asked if he often transports meats in vehicles that are not refrigerated, Saad became upset and said if the delivery is close, it should not be an issue. Perhaps inspectors will offer him some advice if that is not proper practice.

Saad directed 7 Action News to his attorney, Chris Kokkinakos.

Despite Saad's tone earlier, Kokkinakos said that they are grateful to the woman who first posted the unsettling images on Facebook, and they look forward to "cooperating with the USDA and any investigation to determine whether any food safety standards have been deviated from in this matter."

Consumers with a food safety concern, can contact MDARD at  www.MDA-Info@michigan.gov  or  800-292-3939 .