Fruit Fly Infestation Shuts Down Macy's Food Court

Health inspectors found over 200 fruit flies infesting the lower level food court of the Macy’s State Street store in Chicago. Inspectors first discovered the infestation last week after a disgusted customer complained to 311. Food court employees apparently were not bothered by either the fruit flies or the health inspectors. From the Chicago Tribune:

“Not only did they not do anything, the problems seemed to get worse,” [Tim Hadac, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health] said. “It was a surprising and disappointing lack of adherence to basic food safety regulation… We stopped counting fruit flies when they hit 200.”

The inspectors also found:

  • A leaking three-compartment sink;
  • Waste water backing up from a clogged floor drain;
  • A trash area with grease and food debris on the floor and walls.
  • The food court and an adjoining Starbucks will remain closed until Macy’s figures out how to kill the fruit flies. A cleaning service has been hired to help. The food court is expected to reopen later today.

    City closes Macy’s food court [Chicago Tribune]
    (Photo: cmorran123)


    Edit Your Comment

    1. Toof_75_75 says:

      Wow, Macy’s is making all kinds of good “buzz” lately…

    2. banned says:

      Hmm, how to kill fruit flies, how about throwing out all that rotten food!?
      Another site with forced registration, Thx.
      pass: tribune
      compliments of []

    3. The Unicorn says:

      god, speaking of my unhappiness with the Macy’s/Marshall Field’s switch…

    4. SaveMeJeebus says:

      Our mall is infested with garden cricket carcasses. They mate and die shortly after. Fruit flies seem to be immortal though.

    5. JosephFinn says:

      Haw haw! Cosmic retribution is a bitch, Macy’s! See what happens when you get rid of the green bags, customer service and quality merchandise?

    6. Wormfather says:

      Man, fruit flies are the worst (actually, that’d be rats and roaches, I presume).

      My finacee and I were house sititng for two weeks, apparently we didnt leave the trash covered and returned last night to find that we had little hous sitters of our own.

      1. Remove the food source.
      2. Investigate to see if there breeding.
      3. Set traps, in 24 hours you shoudl be good to go again.

    7. bluemeep says:

      Clearly this should be interpreted as a Biblical plague. Shop at Macy’s and Jesus’ll be pissed.

    8. Asvetic says:

      I guess Macy’s didn’t see the article Lifehacker posted about getting rid of Fruit Flies.


    9. SkyeBlue says:

      Now some moronic animal-right activist is probably going to try and have the food-court declared a “sanctuary” for the endangered and previoulsy unknown “Macy fruit fly”.

    10. ancientsociety says:

      Considering they had 2 backed-up drains, this sounds more like a drain fly infestation, than fruit flies.

      We had the same problem in my apartment after our kitchen drain kept clogging up. You basically have to get rid of or contain all their food sources, clear out the drains, wash everything down very thoroughly, make sure you don’t leave out any dirty dishes, and pour bleach or vinegar down the drain everyday. That should kill them!


    11. MameDennis says:

      Wonder if the fruit flies are wearing tiny, all-black outfits?

    12. Consumer-X says:

      Fruit flies in such concentrations do not result from grease, filth, trash, or recent food waste. Fruit flies prefer stable, relatively long term, fruit based substances to thrive and breed in. A fruit pie left on top of a cabinet, a bag of apples forgotten in a pantry closet, or even an open bottle of wine are perfect breeding grounds for these pests. Cleaning the building will not help. They have to find the “bad apples” first and remove them if they want the name “Macy’s Food Court” to retain its reputation as the leader in culinary excellence.

    13. buk-was-right says:

      THAT’S the Chicago way!

    14. Melov says:

      Fruit flies are everywhere. This is nothing new. I’ve worked in 2 restaurants while in HS and they both had them. The best you can do is clean up, but that doesn’t stop them.

    15. Youthier says:

      I didn’t think anyone went to the State Street store anyway.

    16. JosephFinn says:

      @MameDennis: Well played.

    17. I thought that salad I ate there last week was a little bit too crunchy.

    18. nidolke says:

      @mlehet: Don’t worry about it, that’s only protein baby.

    19. Hoss says:

      I say they got gnats that at striving on the moisture of the leaking sink and clogged floor drain. Mean Chicago gnats are not going to like being called fruit flies.

    20. Consumer-X says:

      “Don’t worry about it, that’s only protein baby.”

      If I only had a dollar for every time I’ve said that…

    21. Tricon says:

      Someone should really clean up that pig head

    22. msthe8r says:

      Easy peasy.

      1) Remove ALL the trash.

      2) Put any food into sealed containers. Likely you should just throw out any fruit or veggies that don’t live in the fridge. Keep one piece of fruit.

      3) Clean all the surfaces with something as least as toxic as Windex.

      4) Put the one piece of fruit, sliced open, in a pan in the oven.

      5) Leave the oven door open overnight.

      6) When you get up, close the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.

      Trust me. One week’s vacation + one forgotten banana = clouds of fruit flies. This works.

    23. Chicago7 says:



    24. jrdnjstn78 says:

      I’d hate to be the one who has to count all those fruit flies

    25. Chicago7 says:

      It seems like a really clean place! There are about 10 or so different food prep areas with different styles of food and a center area where people sit. It will probably take them one day to clean it up.

    26. Chicago7 says:

      BTW, the food inspectors are kicking ass in Chicago. This is the third story this week! GO, FOOD INSPECTORS, GO!

    27. Chicago7 says:


      Hahahaha! NO! They weren’t! That’s why they have to go!!!

    28. SkyeBlue says:

      I wish they would post all the food inspection reports in the newspaper then I bet things would clear up FAST! A few months back I reported one of our local grocery stores to the health department. There were mouse droppings all over the area where the bacon and packaged deli meats were, you could clearly see them on the packages as you walked by. I happened to catch the inspector on his cellphone when he was in town that day, out doing his inspections.He said he would defintely check it out. 2 weeks later I went back in to the same store and noticed the problem hadn’t been cleared up.

      How bad do things actually have to be before a place is shut down?????

    29. night_sky says:

      @SkyeBlue: haha! I’m all for animal rights but that post cracked me up. Cheers!

    30. Youthier says:

      Now some guy killed himself at this Macy’s. They really want MF back in Chicago.

    31. chartrule says:

      I agree with Skyeblue – They should post these inspections. We Have Tim Horton’s here not Starbucks . If I knew one of them here had an infestation of some sort, I wouldn’t want to go there even if they did clean up

    32. rdldr1 says:

      I work a block away from this Macy’s. I had a business lunch there the day the court re-opened. Of course we didnt eat at the lightly-trafficked food court – we ate at the adjacent “better” sports bar “InField’s” – a last vestige of the old MF.