Mayor de Blasio yesterday said it made “no sense” for sanitation workers to throw away thousands of dollars worth of fresh produce from a store on East Broadway, adding, “It cannot happen again.”
There was a big reaction on social media during the past few days after video was posted of the incident. The Post reported that police ticketed shop owner Mohammad Ullah Feb. 3, citing him for unlicensed vending and obstructing the sidewalk. They then called sanitation workers to dispose of 52 boxes of fruit, including cherries, lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, grapefruit, Chinese pears and Mandarin oranges.
“The cop came and told me to move, so I started moving the boxes,” Ullah told the Post. “Son of a bitch sits in his car and calls sanitation, then they come and take everything. He was watching me move the boxes and he still called men to take it away. It was like a robbery. I lost $8,300 of merchandise in one day.”
Police said Ullah is a repeat offender who owes $60,000 in fines. According to Channel 2, de Blasio responded in a statement. It read, in part:
City Hall is right now in the process of instructing all city agencies to donate, not destroy, usable food confiscated as part of an enforcement action. Further, they will compost any food products that aren’t edible. Anything short of this is senseless.
The NYPD said, however, that it isn’t allowed to give away food due to possible health risks.