Contamination Fears Temporaily Close County Market

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MEXICO - County Market in Mexico will remain closed for anywhere between two weeks and a month. That is due to an embargo the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Audrain County Health Department placed on the store.

The embargo prohibits the sale of food products, drugs and cosmetics.

This all stems from an original complaint made to the health department regarding possible asbestos in the tile. That complaint was made October 30. Since then, the department of natural resources did find a very small level of asbestos in the floor tile.

The embargo was made following concern that asbestos and other elements contained in debris from construction might contaminate food being sold at the store. According to the health department, asbestos has not yet been found in this debris. Therefore, the embargo is merely a precautionary measure.

Administrator for the health department, Kevin Lowrance, said this is a good reminder that every consumer needs to consider food hygiene and sanitation.

"If you have a can of coffee that you bought from any store let alone County Market at this time, what we're looking at is what people should do everyday is just wipe the dust off, if you have a can that's dirty just wipe it off," Lowrance said.

According to Gerry Attler with Niemann Foods Inc., the owner of County Market, any concern has been contained and is being taken care of. The company has submitted a plan to address the issue. This must still be approved by the department of health and senior services and the Audrain County Health Department.