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Monroe IGA Express suspended from selling tobacco products

The Monroe IGA Express store is under a FDA suspension to sell tobacco products for about 30 days for repeated violations of selling tobacco to underage people. RICK MCCRABB/STAFF
The Monroe IGA Express store is under a FDA suspension to sell tobacco products for about 30 days for repeated violations of selling tobacco to underage people. RICK MCCRABB/STAFF

A local market has been suspended from selling tobacco products for nearly a month by the federal government as a result of repeated violations for underage sales and not checking IDs to verify age.

In a complaint dated Aug. 15, 2019, the Food and Drug Administration said CFM 2973 Inc., doing business as the Monroe IGA Express, 2 East Ave., committed six violations of FDA tobacco regulations within the 36-month period from December 2017 to February 2019.

Four of those violations were for underage sales and two violations were for failing to verify ages with photo identification.

Inside the store, all of the tobacco products have been removed from the racks and notices have been posted of the suspension, which runs from Jan. 6 through Jan. 26.

Bill Daniel, owner of the Monroe IGA Express, could not be reached for comment.

Explore MORE: Kroger says Austin Landing store not selling tobacco products

Prior to this complaint, the FDA sent a warning letter on June 15, 2017 and fined the business three times in 2018. In each case, the retailer admitted to the allegations.

The most recent complaint occurred on Feb. 11, 2019, when an FDA-commissioned inspector saw the retailer selling tobacco products to a minor who purchased a Black & Mild cigar about 6:10 p.m. that evening. On Feb. 14, the retailer was notified of the of the underage sales violation.

Because of the number of violations in a 36-month period, the FDA sought a 30-day No Tobacco Sales Order against the retailer, which is the maximum penalty at this level. If there are future violations and another No Tobacco Sales Order is issued, it will be a six-month suspension. A third such order would permanently end tobacco sales.

FDA documents obtained by the Journal-News indicate the Kroger at the Austin Landing location and the Monroe IGA on East Avenue are the lone Ohio retailers on the agency’s No Tobacco Sales Order list of 177 sites nationwide dating back to at least January 2016.

Reporter Nick Blizzard contributed to this report.

MONROE IGA VIOLATIONS

•May 20, 2017: Selling covered tobacco products to a minor; failing to verify ID for covered tobacco products sale.

•Dec. 5, 2017: Selling covered tobacco products to a minor; failing to verify ID for covered tobacco products sale.

•Feb. 28, 2018: : Selling covered tobacco products to a minor.

•April 19, 2018: Selling covered tobacco products to a minor; failing to verify ID for covered tobacco products sale.

•Feb. 11, 2019: Selling covered tobacco products to a minor.

SOURCE: Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA can issue No Tobacco Sales Orders to retailers that repeatedly violate the law. Here is how the penalties escalate:

•1st order: Up to 30 days.

•2nd order: Up to 60 days.

•3rd order: Permanent ban.

SOURCE: Food and Drug Administration.