TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Publix customers may have noticed a new sign reminding them to keep their fur babies at home if they want to shop.
In recent days, Publix stores have had signs at the entrance saying that pets are not allowed to enter, including emotional support animals.
Service animals are allowed, but the store asked that people keep them away from carts or baskets for sanitation reasons. The animals must also be under the control of their handlers.
“A service animal is a dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks to assist an individual with a disability,” the sign says. “Dogs, miniature horses, or other animals that provide only emotional support, comfort, or companionship are not considered service animals.”
The policy isn’t new, but the signs were enacted to further reinforce it.
According to FDA regulations, grocery stores must take “reasonable precautions to prevent contamination” including: “excluding domesticated animals from fully-enclosed buildings where covered produce, food contact surfaces, or food-packing material is exposed.”
The code of regulations does add that “guard or guide dogs may be allowed in some areas of a fully enclosed building if the presence of the dogs is unlikely to result in contamination of produce, food contact surfaces, or food-packing materials.”
The signs drew some mixed reactions. One West Palm Beach woman said she would refuse to shop at her local Publix because she can no longer stop there after walking her dog, according to a report by WPTV.
However, another woman said she was in favor of it so that any allergens or germs from the dogs don’t end up on any open food.