Not-so “Totally awesome, dude”: California pizza parlour home to rat(s)

Growing up my older cousin Adam was obsessed with the pizza-loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and every time we visited his house my sisters and I were forced to re-enact fight scenes from the wildly popular TV series. Adam was always Leonardo, and somehow one of us was always the wise rat Splinter.

Perhaps it was Splinter that lead to the Round Table restaurant closure in Danville, CA this month. reports that following a customer-complaint the Contra Costa County Environmental Health Division investigated and confirmed the presence of a rat in the pizza parlor.

Joe Doser, supervising environmental health specialist, said

"We have to look into all of these reports. So we went out and investigated and confirmed the complaint."

The inspector found a number of issues with the restaurant, including a live rat found in a trap on the premises, droppings, cross contamination of food, improper food storage and improper storage of utensils.

The Round Table was closed for one day, while cleanup crews took care of the issues found by the inspectors. It was inspected again June 2 and again June 3. Several minor infractions were found and again evidence of rodents was seen.

Doser continued,

"The corrective plan they [the owner] provided to our office is pretty good. If they stick with it they should be OK."

The restaurant was placed on a one-year probation. During that time additional inspections are set up, at the cost of the restaurant. If the issues are not addressed in a timely fashion, the restaurant could be shut down again and the owners could potentially face civil or criminal charges.

Doser said there are approximately 4,000 restaurants operating the county, and each year, the office receives 1,000 consumer complaints, concluding,

"People think they saw a rat or a cockroach or they got sick. As with all complaints we have to check it out. About 75 percent of them turn out to be valid.”

Anywhere that serves food has the potential to attract rodents. Food operators should be aware of this potential, and take measures to prevent or control these issues.