The Influx In Mice Infestations In Philadelphia Restaurants This Winter Has Called Attention To The Importance Of Keeping Stored Food Inaccessible To Pests
Many Philadelphia residents have experienced issues with mice within their home, so it should not be surprising to learn that mice frequently establish infestations within the city’s restaurants as well. In fact, mice were involved in more than 70 percent of all restaurant closings during the last two weeks of November of 2019. During this time period, city inspection officers discovered mouse excrement on counter surfaces in food preparation areas, on dough mixers, in food storage areas, and even in take-out containers. Inspectors also found a large number of dead and living mice in most of the restaurants they visited, and several restaurants had cats locked in cages in prep and storage areas. The caged cats were presumably being kept for mouse control purposes, but the cats presence in kitchens also posed a health threat to customers and employees. These many forced restaurant closings have emphasized the importance of making sure that mice and other rodents cannot access stored foods.
Experts state that at least 20 percent of the world’s food supply is eaten or contaminated by rodents each year. Eating food that has been contaminated with the hair, feces or urine of mice and rats can lead to disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mice and rats are capable of spreading a number of serious diseases to humans through their urine, feces and saliva, including salmonellosis and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome. To prevent rodents from accessing food stored in pantries and cupboards, the CDC recommends sealing all potential entry points, setting traps, making sure that stored food is well sealed, and if possible, storing food in areas that are inaccessible to rodents. Many of the establishments that were forced to close temporarily over mice infestations were convenience stores and small restaurants, but some popular and big name establishments were forced to close for this reason as well, including Lipkins Bakery and Win Win Coffee Bar. The former establishment was forced to close twice in only two weeks due to repeated instances in which inspectors found mouse droppings in the kitchen. However, it is not uncommon for food service establishments to close over rodent problems, especially in Philadelphia where rodent infestations are epidemic.
Have you ever discovered mice, rats or their droppings within a food service establishment?
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