Rodney Sparks Faces Felony Charges For Selling Dumpster Meat

5:06 PM, Aug 9, 2012   |    comments
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FRONT ROYAL, Va. (WUSA)  A Front Royal man is charged with a disgusting crime.

He's accused of getting meat from a dumpster and repackaging it to sell in his discount store.

54-year-old Rodney Sparks has owned his scratch and dent discount store for about a year. He's a accused of dumpster diving at places such as Food Lion and Safeway and reselling bad meat.  

Sparks was arrested and charged for selling what inspectors say was putrid, decomposed and unhealthy meat.

Sparks says that's not true, that the inspectors were the ones who mishandled the meat.

Inside the store, he sells what commercial businesses would throw away because cereal boxes were damaged or the meat's sell by date is about to expire.

The Food and Drug administration has no regulation on the 'sell by date,' with a couple of exceptions. 

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer services could not comment on this case. But says, the 'sell by or used by dates' are voluntary, except for grade A dairy and infant formula.

Sparks says he's trying to run a business to help the poor.

"I'm not interested in getting rich. I want to help people."

Louise Barnett is a regular customer and says she and her family have never gotten sick or had an issue with Sparks' meat.

"It helps the community for people like me who's not working. He helps me a lot. I enjoy the store."

Barnett says she's okay with the hotdogs that she's buying with a June 9, 2012 'use by' date.

Court papers say grocery employees saw Sparks removing food from the dumpster.

As for that accusation, Sparks says he has gone dumpster diving only for dozens of rescue cats he takes care of at his Monrovia, Maryland home.

Sparks says he's never sold meat from the dumpster.

Sparks faces 10 felony counts of adulterating products. His next court appearance is in September.

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