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Berrien County Health Department shuts down Niles tattoo shop

NILES, Mich. - After a customer complaint launched a county health department investigation, Paparazzi Tattooz and Body Piercing had its license to operate suspended and its doors closed until changes are made to comply with Berrien County health codes.

According to Berrien County Health officials, Paparazzi staff members had not been properly sterilizing their body piercing equipment.

That put customers at risk of being exposed to HIV,Hepatitis B or C.

"During an inspection, we identified that Paparazzi Tattoo and Body Piercing was using equipment on certain piercing procedures that had not been properly sterilized between customers," said Berrien County Health Officer Nicki Britten. "They had gone through a sanitization process but not sterilization."

County health officials said equipment used for navel (belly button), tongue, genital and dermal (flat body surface) piercings was at the center of the scare.

The Berrien County Health department said former Paparazzi customers who got those piercings should get their blood tested for Hepatitis B, C and HIV.

The investigation found the shop's tattoo practices did comply with county health codes and that if the store said it wanted to re-open and only do tattoos, the County Health Department would reinstate the operating license.

This shut down may not be permanent. The County Health Department gave Paparazzi owners a "laundry list" of changes that must be made to get business back up and running.

Tuesday, the Paparazzi Tattooz and Body Piercing website said the store would re-open on Wednesday. County Health officials said that is not true.

Paparazzi ownership must adhere to the list of changes, and Berrien County Health Department inspectors must confirm the changes have been made before the store can open again.

Paparazzi ownership could not be reached for comment.

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