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Walmart grocery in Queensborough closed for 'severe pest infestation'

A June 25 Fraser Health inspection found an array of food that had been chewed by rodents, as well as rodent droppings in numerous locations
Grocery store empty aisle
Queensborough residents can't fill their carts in the grocery aisles at Walmart, after the food section was shut down June 25 following a Fraser Health inspection that found a "severe pest infestation."

Cheetos, Chipits, instant noodles, rice and moong dal are apparently on the menu for the next rodent gathering in Queensborough.

The grocery section of Queensborough’s Walmart remains cordoned off after an inspection by Fraser Health found a “severe pest infestation” in the dry food section.

The store was ordered closed on Friday, June 25 after an inspection found “critical hazards” in the form of “food contaminated or unfit for human consumption.”

The inspection report provides an extensive list of foods that had been chewed on by rodents, including Cheetos, Premium Plus crackers, bags of Crispers and several bags of Bikaji chips. The rodents also sampled one bag of walnuts and one bag of flour, along with bags of soup mix, rice, instant noodles and moong dal (mung beans).

All the affected food items were discarded, the report notes.

The report also outlines “non-critical hazards” in the form of “premises not free of pests.” It says droppings were found around bags of pet food (both in the back and front areas of the store) and on and around a variety of foods – including in the bakery underneath the bread, around pallets of rice stored on the floor and on shelving in “most of the dry food aisles.”

The store was ordered to cordon off the area, discard all contaminated food products, clean all the shelves and the floor with a bleach solution, and have a professional pest control company come to the site. The report also notes the need for a re-inspection prior to reopening the dry food section.

A followup inspection was conducted yesterday (June 29). That inspection showed the store has lowered its hazard rating from 40, or high, to 15, or moderate.

A Fraser Health inspection history shows that all previous routine inspections of the store (between Nov. 23, 2011 and Jan. 30, 2020) had returned with a “low” hazard rating.

CORRECTIVE ACTIONS HAVE BEEN TAKEN

The June 29 followup inspection noted the store has completed a number of corrective actions, including removing excess food stock, cleaning shelves and floors, and checking all food items twice daily. Contaminated food products have been discarded, and holes in the electrical room have been sealed.

Pest control is coming to the store twice daily and was on site during the health inspector’s visit, the report says.

However, the report also details a number of corrective actions that still need to be taken before it can reopen the affected section (aisles 1 through 9). Those actions all involving sealing gaps that could allow rodents into the store – including the gap between seasonal doors, gaps in the receiving doors and a hole in the wall in the back storage area.

Parts are on order and a work order has been placed for all of the items requiring correction, the report says.

Another inspection is set for July 9, according to the report.

A call to Queensborough Walmart confirmed the grocery section remains closed as of today (June 30), but the store is hoping it could be open again by Friday, July 2.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca.