24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

Grocery store usda violation Montgomery

If you’re a grocery store owner in Montgomery, Alabama, there‘s nothing more stressful than getting hit with a USDA violation. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling, seeing that official letter arrive, knowing your business is in hot water. But, take a deep breath. You‘re not alone, and there are steps you can take to deal with this situation head-on.So, what do you do, if you get hit with one of these things? First off, don’t panic. Easier said than done, I know. But, freaking out won’t solve anything. Instead, it‘s time to get proactive and tackle this challenge strategically.

Understanding USDA Violations

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to handle a violation, let’s break down what they actually are. USDA violations occur when a grocery store fails to meet the standards set by the United States Department of Agriculture. These can range from minor infractions, like improper labeling, to major offenses, such as selling contaminated products.Some common USDA violations include:

  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Improper storage temperatures
  • Mislabeled products
  • Selling expired or spoiled food
  • Inadequate pest control

Now, I know what you‘re thinking. “But, I run a tight ship! How could this happen to me?” The truth is, violations can occur even in the most well-managed stores. All it takes is one oversight, one employee mistake, and bam – you’re facing down a USDA citation.

The Consequences of USDA Violations

Getting slapped with a USDA violation is no joke. The consequences can be severe, including:

  • Hefty fines
  • Temporary or permanent closure of your store
  • Criminal charges in extreme cases
  • Damage to your reputation and loss of customer trust

That last one is especially brutal. In a tight-knit community like Montgomery, word spreads fast. One USDA violation can tank your business, as customers flee to competitors they perceive as safer and more reliable.

Steps to Take When Facing a USDA Violation

Alright, so you’ve gotten the dreaded letter. What now? Here‘s a step-by-step guide to navigating this tricky situation:

1. Don’t ignore it

As tempting as it may be to shove that letter in a drawer and pretend it doesn’t exist, that’s the worst thing you can do. Ignoring a USDA violation won’t make it go away. In fact, it’ll only make things worse. The USDA takes these matters seriously, and they won’t hesitate to escalate if they feel you’re not cooperating.

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.

2. Read the citation carefully

Once you‘ve mustered the courage to open the letter, read it carefully. Like, really carefully. Make sure you understand exactly what the violation is, what you‘re being accused of, and what the potential penalties are. If anything is unclear, don‘t be afraid to reach out to the USDA for clarification.

3. Document everything

Create a file specifically for this violation. Save a copy of the citation, and start documenting everything you do in response. If you have a meeting with the USDA, take detailed notes. If you send an email, save a copy. Having a clear paper trail will be invaluable if the situation escalates.

4. Conduct an internal investigation

Don’t just take the USDA’s word for it. Conduct your own investigation into the alleged violation. Talk to your employees, review security footage if you have it, and try to piece together what happened. The goal here is twofold: first, to understand where things went wrong, and second, to gather evidence that may help your case.

5. Take corrective action immediately

If, in the course of your investigation, you discover that the violation is legitimate, take corrective action immediately. Don‘t wait for the USDA to tell you what to do. Show initiative by fixing the problem right away. This could mean throwing out spoiled products, deep cleaning your store, retraining employees, or updating your policies and procedures.

6. Respond to the USDA

Once you‘ve investigated and taken corrective action, it’s time to respond to the USDA. Your response should include:

  • An acknowledgment of the violation
  • An explanation of what happened
  • A detailed description of the corrective actions you’ve taken
  • Steps you’ll take to prevent future violations
  • Any evidence you’ve gathered that may help your case

Be professional, cooperative, and honest in your response. The USDA is more likely to work with you if they feel you’re taking the situation seriously and acting in good faith.

7. Consider hiring a lawyer

Depending on the severity of the violation and the potential consequences, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer. Look for someone with experience handling USDA violations and a deep understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. A good lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities, negotiate with the USDA, and protect your rights.

8. Be prepared for an inspection

After you’ve responded to the violation, be prepared for a follow-up inspection. The USDA will want to verify that you’ve taken the corrective actions you promised and that your store is now in compliance. Make sure your store is in tip-top shape and that all your employees are prepared.

9. Stay vigilant

Once you‘ve weathered the storm of a USDA violation, it‘s crucial to stay vigilant. Double down on your commitment to food safety and sanitation. Train and retrain your employees. Conduct regular internal audits. The last thing you want is a repeat violation, which could be even more damaging than the first.

Real-Life Examples

To help illustrate these steps, let’s look at a couple of real-life examples of grocery stores in Montgomery that faced USDA violations and how they handled them.

Example 1: Mislabeled Meat

A small, family-owned grocery store received a USDA citation for mislabeled meat products. Some of their ground beef packages were labeled as “lean” when they didn’t meet the USDA’s definition of lean.The store owner, let’s call him John, was devastated. He prided himself on the quality of his meat and couldn’t believe this had happened. After a moment of panic, John took a deep breath and started following the steps.He carefully read the citation, then conducted an internal investigation. He discovered that a new employee had been mislabeling the packages, not fully understanding the USDA’s labeling requirements. John immediately removed all the mislabeled products from the shelves and properly disposed of them.Next, he retrained all his employees on proper labeling procedures and updated his store’s labeling policy to include more oversight and double-checking. He documented all these actions.Finally, John responded to the USDA, explaining what had happened, detailing the corrective actions he’d taken, and expressing his commitment to preventing future violations. When the USDA came for a follow-up inspection, they were satisfied with the changes John had made and closed the case without further penalties.

Schedule Your Consultation Now