Rodents in food facilities are a concern because they can contaminate food, leading to foodborne illness and recalls, and their very presence in food facilities is a violation of federal law.
This issue is borne out by the fact that 83% of respondents had at least some concern about rodents in their facility, with 32% seeing rodents as very much a concern.
In fact, respondents were more concerned with rodents than with any of the other major food pests. But all rodents didn’t fare the same. Rather, mice were considered to be a significantly higher issue than rats (53% stated concern with mice in the facility and only 19% with rats).
Considers the recent case of rodent presence found during a Food and Drug Administration inspection of a Family Dollar Store distribution facility, it is easy to see why respondents are concerned.
In its inspection, FDA observed “live rodents, dead rodents in various states of decay, rodent feces and urine, evidence of gnawing, nesting and rodent odors throughout the facility, dead birds and bird droppings, and products stored in conditions that did not protect against contamination.” Stating that the conditions appeared to be violations of federal law that could put families’ health at risk, FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Judith McMeekin stated, “No one should be subjected to products stored in the kind of unacceptable conditions that we found.”
Those findings led to the temporary closure of more than 400 stores and the recall of all food products purchased from Family Dollar retail stores in six states over a two-month period.