More rats: rodents close Pennsylvania state capital cafeteria

The cafeteria in the Pennsylvania capital building where the governor and other state legislators hang out, form cliques and toss around tater tots, has not been inspected in four years – despite a state law requiring annual checks — and is now closed after an infestation of rodents was discovered.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner said Thursday he received assurances in 2005 that the state Agriculture Department would inspect the facility, and his auditors later received false assurances that it was being inspected regularly.

Last week, Agriculture Department inspectors finally arrived at the ground-floor cafeteria, a popular coffee and lunch spot. They found a "severe" rodent infestation, including an "excessive" amount of rodent droppings on food preparation equipment and in cabinets, utensil bins and elsewhere. The droppings indicate the presence of live mice and are considered an imminent health risk.

The ground-floor cafeteria is now closed and is not expected to reopen until January.

Australian judge: ‘If you cannot offer food that is safe for consumption, you ought not to ‘

A North Melbourne bakery riddled with cockroaches and mouse droppings that failed to comply with an order to clean the shop has been fined $7,000.

After an inspection in April last year that found a live mouse, cockroaches, moths, mouse droppings and dirty shelving and work benches, Queensberry Hot Bread’s owner Dino Primitivo did not comply with an order to clean the shop or deter pests, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Photographs tendered to the court showed a live mouse under shelves, clothing hung up to dry in front of an oven, cracked, broken and dirty work tools, benches and surfaces, and mouse droppings on the floor.

Magistrate Sue Wakeling told Primitivo,

"If you cannot offer food that is safe for consumption, you ought not to."

Real Canadian Superstore discovers rodent control

The folks that run Canada’s largest grocery store chain – Loblaw Companies –are apparently just learning about pest control. They are also learning that consumers can take pictures with their cell phones and can actually use those phones to call local health types.

The Calgary Herald reports that public complaints prompted health inspectors to visit the Westwinds location of the Real Canadian Superstore 17 times in just over a year before it was ordered closed Tuesday after the discovery of live mice, rodent feces and gnawed packaging.

Rick Holley, a microbiology professor in the University of Manitoba’s department of food science, believes shoppers have every reason to be squeamish at the thought of mice scampering over produce or gnawing on potato chip bags.

"Mice are vectors for salmonella. They carry it and shed it not unlike chicken, cattle or hogs.”

Doug Powell, an associate professor of food safety at Kansas State University, said,

"People might think, ‘What’s the big deal about a little mouse poop?’ But it’s an indicator there could be a whole lot else going on.”

The incident comes weeks after a Loblaws store in Toronto — part of the same company as the Superstore chain — was shut down after a "heavy infestation"of mice and rats, including droppings on sandwich counters, was found.

Company spokeswoman Inge van den Berg said the two occurrences have prompted the store to revamp its pest control procedures.