US supermarket forced to throw $35k worth food after customer coughs purposely

Washington: A supermarket in the US state of Pennsylvania was forced to throw out $35,000 worth of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and bakery products after a "twisted" customer walked around coughing on it amid the coronavirus pandemic which has infected and killed thousands in the country, according to a media report.

The unidentified woman, who is said to regularly act like a nuisance at Gerrity's Supermarket in Hanover Township, reportedly came in on Tuesday especially to cough on food during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Metro newspaper report said on Thursday.

A shop worker wrote on the store's Facebook page: "Today was a very challenging day. At 2.20 p.m., I got a call from our Hanover Township store.

"The manager informed that a woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community, came in to the store and proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery.

"I'm also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food. While it is always a shame when food is wasted, in these times when so many people are worried about the security of our food supply, it is even more disturbing."

The worker further said that every piece of food coughed on by the woman, was thrown away by staff members before disinfecting shelves.

The woman, who was not believed to be suffering from any COVID-19 symptoms, was subsequently arrested, with prosecutors now planning criminal charges against her, the Mtero newspaper report said.

In the Facebook post, the shop worker further assured customers that the supermarket was now even cleaner as a result.

The Pennsylvania incident came as a 26 year-old from St Louis, Missouri, was charged with licking a deodorant at a Walmart store.

Meanwhile in a grim milestone, the US on Thursday surpassed China, where the virus originated last December, in terms of confirmed cases.

According to the latest updates by the John Hopkins University, the US has a total of 85,505 cases, while China has 81,782. The overall death toll in the US currently stands at 1,290.

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