LANTANA, Fla. - An unexpected visit to a Lantana food market forced the owner to stop selling fish. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers say they found fish on the floor next to blood and guts behind closed doors at the American Latin Grocery on Aug. 9.
"Snapper that should be white meat was brown. They were hot to the touch, discolored and unable to be sold for human consumption," said FWC officer Amanda Phillips.
It was so bad the owner, Ammar Abdin, is facing six criminal charges stemming from the dirty conditions and selling without proper licenses.
The market remained open, but Abdin couldn't sell anymore fish until he got a license. He has since obtained the right licenses.
Wildlife officials say they have no idea how long Abdin was selling fish illegally.
"This guy was unlicensed all the way around. He had no knowledge of that to do and how to do it, and now we have him on the right mark," said Phillips.
NewsChannel 5's Marissa Bagg spoke with Abdin on the phone. He said the issue was a misunderstanding, saying he had the right licenses, but wouldn't comment further.
Phillips says FWC officers have gone back to check on the market and have seen an improvement, clean floors and no questionable fish.
Phillips says when you're buying fresh fish, use common sense.
"If it doesn't look good, don't buy it," said Phillips.
Phillips says of the six misdemeanor charges filed against Abdin, some may be dropped because he is trying to right what was wrong.