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Cockroaches and Mice Close Restaurant

06 Jun 2012

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Inspector's Findings of Roaches, Rodents Temporarily Close Restaurant

After finding live and dead roaches and rats, a state inspector ordered the emergency closure of a Northside restaurant last week to allow the business to correct conditions that “pose an elevated risk to the health, safety or welfare of the public or the establishment’s employees.”

During a routine, unannounced visit a week ago to Norwood Plaza Food Court, a safety and sanitation inspector with the state’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants issued the temporary order after noting two dozen critical violations in his report filed with agency and available on its website.

Norwood Plaza Food Court, at 5301 Norwood Ave., shares an address with the Norwood Plaza Flea Market near the Gateway Shopping Center north of downtown Jacksonville.

The restaurant reopened on Friday – nearly 48 hours after its closure – following a re-inspection. (Note: The results of that visit mandate another follow-up inspection.)

Here’s a summary of the inspector’s report, a public record:

Norwood Plaza Food Court

Violations: 37 total, 24 critical, including the following:

  • Vegetables covered in mold in reach-in and walk-in coolers.
  • Cheese not properly refrigerated.
  • Dirty microwave.
  • Roach poop build-up” on “wall, pipes, along doors of walk in cooler and reach in cooler and freezer and fire extinguisher.”
  • Employee hand wash sink in kitchen lacked hot and cold water, drying provisions and cleanser.
  • Dead roaches: 20 on walk-in cooler and reach-in cooler gaskets; 35 under fryers; 20 in ice machine bin (not in use); 12 in warmers (not in use); 20 under walk-in cooler; and 7 in a sink with dirty dishes.
  • Live roaches: 25 in gasket of walk-in cooler; 1 on reach-in cooler door; 1 on walk-in cooler wall; 3 on shelf by soda syrup; 5 in sink with dirty dishes.
  • Rodent droppings: 36 inside single service item boxes; 40 on top of food storage; 40 on hot dog roller (not in use); 50 on floor by Coke refrigerator; 60 on front counter shelves; and 70 on floor under front counter.
  • Dead rodents: 1 under fryer and 1 under ice machine.
  • Live rodents: 1 in pot with grease.
  • Expired restaurant license.

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA 

Man Charged With Shooting Rats In Apartment Building

05 Mar 2012

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Allston Man Charged With Firing Rifle at Rats in Apartment Hallway

A 57-year-old Allston man faced charges today for allegedly firing an unlicensed rifle at rats in the halls of his Franklin Street apartment building because of frustration over an infestation of the vermin, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's office.

William McAbee was arraigned in Brighton District Court for unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and unlawfully discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, prosecutors said. A not guilty plea was automatically entered on his behalf, and Judge Kenneth V. Desmond set his bail at $2,500, district attorney spokesman Jake Wark said.

Source – Boston.com

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA 

Rats In The City

06 Jan 2012

Posted by John D. Stellberger

What do you see??? To the untrained eye you see nothing but to me I see something that 99.9% of the population would overlook. It’s a decaying rat carcass in leaf/grass debris. I am on a property doing a termite inspection and I look around the surrounding area and find this dead rat about 25FT from the building.

I investigate further and find several rat burrows nearby and alerted the property manager who was thrilled I took the extra effort to uncover this. As a result we were able to nip this potential situation in the bud and protect our client.

Sherlock Holmes = You must train yourself to observe what others overlook.

Martin Hussey
Service Specialist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA 

Rats Close Pet Store and Restaurant

23 Dec 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Rat Infestation Closes a Pet Store & Restaurant

Satisfied that a Decatur-area pet store had done what was necessary to eliminate a rat infestation, a DeKalb County judge on Wednesday said the store can reopen.

Now, the owner of Melton’s App & Tap next door to the Pet Supermarket in the Medlock Plaza shopping center must decide whether to take what he said would be “the gamble of my life” – spending the money to repair and reopen his restaurant.

Aaron Melton voluntarily closed his eatery, at 2500 N. Decatur Road, on Nov. 6 after a customer spotted a rat there.

“Early next week, I will basically have to make my decision as to whether we will move forward,” Melton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a phone interview.

“I have to talk to a lot of people – my family, my staff, get a feel for what our patrons and supporters are feeling, and look at all the finances – and take all that into consideration, and make this decision,” he said.

Melton said it would be at least four weeks before he can reopen. He has estimated the entire episode would cost him more than $100,000.

Earlier Wednesday, DeKalb Superior Court Judge Daniel Coursey Jr. heard testimony from witnesses for Pet Supermarket that the store had done all the necessary repairs – sealing exit and entry points and a common wall – to resolve the rat problem and keep rodents out of Melton’s.

Channel 2 Action News, which covered the hearing, reported that one witness said between 300 and 500 rats had been trapped in the store a 30-day period earlier this year.

But another witness, pest inspector Chad Walden, told the court, “The last two rats that were alive in that store died of poison, and there has not been any evidence of any rats since then.”

The judge instructed the store not to throw away loose pet food in the trash receptacles outside.

Efforts were being made Wednesday evening to contact an attorney for Pet Supermarket for comment.

In a prior interview, Melton said he had never had a rodent problem in the 17 years his restaurant had been open until July, when his employees discovered a hot dog bag that had been broken into. Signs of a rodent invasion continued, despite efforts by Melton’s to secure its food and space against contamination.

Eventually, the shopping center owner brought in a pest specialist who traced the problem to openings where rodents were entering the building, and to the Pet Supermarket next door, where rats had gotten into pet food, Melton said.

Things got so bad, Melton hired a lawyer, went to court and got a judge’s injunction shutting Pet Supermarket down on Oct. 20. The court ordered the store to remain closed until it eradicated the rat problem.

“I have a big gamble, a big decision to make,” Melton said Wednesday. “After we’ve spent all our money reinvesting in the restaurant, if something like this happens again, we’ll never recover from it.”

Source = atlantajournalconstitution.com

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Rats Infest School

22 Dec 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

There is a rodent problem at a southeast Atlanta elementary school.

For months parents told Channel 2 Action New Thomasville Heights Elementary School was infested with rats, and now videos, emails and pictures support their claims.

The school district gave Channel 2's Erica Byfield the documentation after she made an open records request.

Surveillance video from October of this year shows a rodent scurrying through the halls.

Byfield first heard about a possible rat problem from parents.

On Nov. 10, Byfield confirmed the issue after obtaining a letter the school's principal sent to parents.

At the time, one parent told her she saw a rat in the school.

"The rats are so big they look like the size of a rabbits," parent Sherrilyn Cullins said.

An email from August describes why an employee called her supervisor crying uncontrollably.

"A very large field mouse had jumped on top of her when she entered the pantry this morning," the email said.

Another email written in February addresses how big the rodents are.

"They will need a large trap, the visual sight of the rodent is similar to a wood rat," it said.

There are also reports the staff at the school had to throw out food after finding gnaw marks on packages of crackers and pounds of flour and sugar.

The documentation also included pictures.

There are photos of droppings in the kitchen and classrooms, traps officials placed around the school and images of holes in the ceilings and walls. Officials believe the rodents crawled into the building gaps. There was also a photo of a rodent in the copier machine.

An email the school's principal Charles Penn sent to district leaders in October said, "Please be advised that we killed a mouse this morning in a kindergarten classroom and another in my office. Additionally, our conference room copier continued to jam."

The photos also included evidence of changes leaders instructed their staff to make to keep the rats out. There is a picture of a hole in the ceiling someone sealed.

District spokesman Keith Bromery told Byfield as of Nov. 23, the school's staff had not seen any signs of rodents since early November.

Source = cnn.com

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Federal Authorities Shut Down Food Warehouse Due To Rodents

14 Dec 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Feds Remove Food from Rodent-Infested Warehouse

Federal authorities seized food from a Streamwood warehouse Monday after investigators found a "widespread and active rodent infestation" inside the building, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Criminal investigators with the Food and Drug Administration also executed a search warrant Monday at the Chetak Chicago LLC facility, signaling a criminal probe of the conditions at the suburban location.

The developments come after the FDA found 25 live and 12 dead rodents at the warehouse between Aug. 15 and Sept. 1, authorities said. FDA investigators also spotted birds inside the 108,000-square-foot building as well as gnawed and urine-stained food packages, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Investigators also found rodents' nesting materials inside the building. Gaps in the doors and the foundation allowed animals to enter, prosecutors said.

FDA investigators returned to the building twice in late September, but the problems had not been fixed, authorities said.

The discoveries prompted federal prosecutors to file a lawsuit alleging that all food inside the building can be seized unless stored in a freezer or in glass or metal containers. A federal judge signed a warrant allowing deputy U.S. marshals to seize the food.

The facility, located at 1111 E. Lake St. in the northwest suburb, stores food including rice, flour, shelled peanuts, cookies, dried coconut and spices, according to the U.S. attorney's office. Chetak receives the food from India and throughout the United States and sells it to restaurants and retailers in about 20 states and Canada, officials said.

No food has been shipped from the building since Aug. 17, when the Illinois Department of Public Health imposed an embargo on the facility, officials said.

The U.S. attorney's office said "there are no known immediate public health risks posed by the seized food" and that no illnesses have been traced to the food.

Officials with Chetak could not be reached for comment.

Source = Associated Press

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Famous Pizzeria Closed Due To Mice

07 Dec 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

Famous Brooklyn Pizzeria Has Again Been Closed by the City Health Department

One of Brooklyn’s most beloved — and frequently shuttered — pizzerias has again been closed by the city, and the owner says he’s happy to get the time off. “The only time I get to relax is when they close us,” said Domenico DeMarco, the owner of the legendary Di Fara Pizza on Avenue J in Midwood, who jokingly posed with his daughter behind the gate of his restaurant as if in prison after the Health Department forced them to close last week.

But the violations are no joke.

The city reported the 46-year-old pizzeria at the corner of E. 15th Street, known for it’s drop-dead Sicilian pie, racked up 67 violation points during last week’s inspection and was cited for mouse droppings “throughout the kitchen,” enough to shut the store and require the owner to take a course in food protection. Once the place is cleaned up and proof is provided to the city that the course has been completed, the world-famous joint will be allowed to reopen.

The DeMarco family argued it was caught off guard by the inspection thanks to what they called a perfect storm of bad timing and new city rules.

“The person who was supposed to come in and clean on Nov. 16 wasn’t able to make it, because they had a medical emergency,” said Margy DeMarco, who works alongside her father in the shop. “The inspector came that day.”

She also blamed a paperwork-related delay thanks to the massive Occupy Wall Street protests in the city on Thursday for keeping the shop closed longer than it should have been, and claimed she is now waiting on the city to reinspect the restaurant so the family could re-open it.

Pizza lovers who for years have waited up to an hour just to get their hands on an expensive-yet-mouth-watering slice were understandably devastated by the closure, and some reasoned that a ticket-happy city was simply making an example of their favorite pizzeria.

“It’s a symbolic shutdown just to strike fear through everybody else,” said Scott Wiener, a Di Fara disciple who leads pizza-tasting tours around the city.

And all the pizza-lovers we talked to vowed to return as soon as the shop reopens, mice or no mice.

“Is it worth risking rodent-borne illness?” wondered Josh Bauchner, a Di Fara enthusiast. “Certainly.”

That risk could remain: when one of our reporter’s visited to the pizza shrine on Monday, a mouse scurried under the oven, leaving us wondering if the next time we go back (and we will!), will we be getting toppings … or droppings.

It’s the third time the pizzeria has been closed by the city because of uncleanliness since 2007, and each time mouse droppings were involved. Back in 2007, it was closed twice between March and June.

The restaurant had received a B rating from the city prior to this week’s closure.

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Rodents Hantavirus On The Rise

23 Nov 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

HantaVirus Found in Trapped Rodents

Six rodents trapped during routine monitoring in the last week in North County and East County have tested positive for the potentially-deadly hantavirus.

Infected rodents rarely pose a danger to people if they are in the wild and there has been just one non-fatal human case in the county, in 2004. But people can inhale hantavirus by stirring up rodent droppings, then get sick and even die. There is no treatment, vaccine or cure for hantavirus infections, which are deadly in 38 percent of cases.

“People should never sweep up or vacuum rodent droppings or nesting material when they find it,” said Jack Miller, director of the County Department of Environmental Health. “Instead, they should ventilate closed areas for at least 30 minutes, and then carefully use bleach or a full-strength disinfectant before removing them.”

The best way people can prevent the disease is to keep mice out of houses, garages and sheds by sealing holes larger than the size of a dime, County officials said.

Hantavirus can cause hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS), which begins with flu-like symptoms but can grow into severe breathing difficulties and even death.

The rodents that tested positive during the last week included: two deer mice from Campo; one deer mouse each from Carlsbad and Escondido; one harvest mouse from Oceanside and a vole from Carlsbad. Thirty-seven rodents have tested positive for hantavirus in the county this year, compared to 21 in 2010.

Source: Associated Press

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Rats Unique Defense Mechanism

21 Nov 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

African Rat Protects Itself with Poison

Researchers, including U.S. conservationists, say they've discovered the first known mammal to use plant poison to defend itself.

A predator trying to make a meal of the African crested rat is in for a surprise, the researchers said, because the rats apply a poisonous plant toxin to sponge-like hairs on its flanks.

"The African crested rat is a fascinating example of how a species can evolve a unique set of defenses in response to pressure from predators," said study co-author Tim O'Brien of the Wildlife Conservation Society in a WCS release Tuesday.

"The animal and its acquired toxicity is unique among placental mammals."

The researchers discovered the rat gets its poison from the bark of the Acokanthera tree, the same source used by East African hunters for poison arrows, by chewing the bark and applying its saliva to its flanks.

Scientists have long suspected the African crested rat is poisonous, with many accounts of dogs becoming ill or dying after encounters with the rodents.

But instead of producing poison itself, as the duck-billed platypus does, the African crested rat takes its toxin, called ouabain, from the external source, the tree.

A remaining mystery, researchers say, is how the animal uses the poison without succumbing to it.

Source = upi.com

George Williams,
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA

Rodents Close Wal-Mart

10 Nov 2011

Posted by John D. Stellberger

UPDATE: Wal-Mart Deli, Bakery Reopen After Rodent Problem

The deli and the bakery at the Wal-Mart superstore in Lebanon have reopened after being shut down for a rodent problem.

News 8 initially reported the problem on Thursday, Aug. 4. A store spokeswoman said the problem was first discovered at the end of June but that pest control efforts were unsuccessful. The spokeswoman would not say what type of rodent had gotten into the store.

Here is the complete statement the company issued on Thursday:

"Unfortunately it has come to our attention that rodents have found their way into our store in Lebanon, Pa. We are aware of the situation and we are working to resolve this issue.

As part of our commitment to food safety, the bakery and deli remain closed until the problem can be corrected. We’re working with a pest control company, a professional cleaning service and the Department of Agriculture to remedy the situation.

We make every effort to ensure our stores are clean and pest free and apologize to our customers for this inconvenience. Once the Department of Agriculture inspects our store and gives us the okay to re-open, we will."

On Friday, a company spokesperson updated the situation, saying the store had passed the inspection and the deli and bakery are open for business

Source = wgal.com

George Williams
General Manager - Staff Entomologist

Pest Control, RI, Pest Control, MA


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