Rats Infesting Food Store Prompt Inspector Visit
A cellphone video of rats taken by a passerby at a Vancouver grocery store has prompted a visit to the business by Vancouver health inspectors.
Matt Johnson was walking along West Broadway Saturday when he looked through the window at Kitsilano Natural Foods and saw large rats crawling over food and knocking over containers inside.
Johnson said he was with a female friend who started screaming at the sight.
“There were rats all over the place," he said.
Johnson pulled out his phone and started recording because he thought people wouldn’t believe it when he told them about the bizarre scene without visual proof.
"They were going through the produce, they were running up and down the walls. They had knocked down cans of stuff. It was a big mess.”
Health inspectors were notified about the video, inspected the store Tuesday, and have spoken with the owner about dealing with its rodent problem.
The rodents are a common problem in Vancouver, but if an infestation becomes too severe, inspectors can shut that business down, according to Trudi Beutel, of Vancouver Coastal Health.
"There has to be a wholesale infestation,” Beutel said. “And we have to believe there has been no due diligence on the part of the owner to correct any of the issues that have been brought to light over the course of the investigation."
The owner of Kitsilano Natural Foods, Ben Huinh, said Thursday that pest control technicians were sealing his building and getting rid of the rats.
Huinh said customers shouldn't be worried.
“Our policy for our goods is when in doubt, throw it out. So if we see anything that appears to be tampered with by rodents or anything we will discard of it," said Huinh.
Fall is the time of year that rats become more of a problem, as they seek warm places to go and food to eat, so they can be hard to keep out of homes and businesses, said Peter Steinfort, of Care Pest Control.
"They are excellent climbers, so they can go in through soffits. They can go through any sort of opening,” said Steinfort. “All a rat needs is about half an inch and that's enough for them to squeeze through.”
Steinfort said home and business owners need comprehensive plans to deal with the problem.
General Manager - Staff Entomologist