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Bagel shop fined for dropped seeds

NEW YORK, May 7 (UPI) -- The owner of a New York bagel shop said he was shocked when a health inspector fined him $1,650 for dropping sesame and poppy seeds on the floor.

Alex Gormakh, 59, owner of B&B Empire Bagel Cafe in Brooklyn, said he appealed the fines, stemming from an Oct. 23 inspection and lost at two hearings, the New York Post reported Monday.

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Gormakh said he does not understand how the city Health Department expects him to make bagels without some of the seeds dropping to the floor.

"It is impossible to clean up after each and every bagel," he said. "It is impossible. It is a process."

Workers at other bagel businesses in the city agreed with Gormakh.

"No matter how much you sweep during the daytime there's always going to be seeds on the floor," said A.J. Tawfik of Brooklyn Bagel.

Gormakh, who opened the store last June after moving from Russia in 1995, said he and his son, Max, 34, have now spent nearly $900,000 on larger stainless steel preparation tables to cut back on seed dropping and a water-filter vacuum to collect the seeds that do fall on the floor.

"If you want to work you have to pay," he said. "In Russia, they call it corruption. Here they call it something else. Either way, you have to pay."

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