September 3, 2015
City of Ottawa food inspectors have temporarily shut down an AW restaurant in the food court of an east-end shopping centre after an inspection revealed “evidence of significant insect/rodent infestation.”
Ottawa Public Health said it was contacted Monday regarding a potential cockroach infestation and was told in a call to the property manager of the St. Laurent Centre that a pesticide had been applied the day before to address the problem.
Inspectors who visited the mall later Monday, however, discovered “some dead and live cockroaches” in the food court washrooms as well as inside the AW booth, said health department spokeswoman Donna Casey. That was considered a critical infraction under department guidelines.
The inspectors also found less serious infractions due to improper sanitation and maintenance of floors, walls, and ceilings and ordered the restaurant to close while it addressed the issues.
Food safety issues persisted during subsequent inspections on Tuesday and Wednesday, Casey said. Another inspection is scheduled for Thursday, and “legal action is pending” under Health Protection and Promotion Act regulations for food premises.
Due to confidentiality requirements, Casey would not disclose who contacted the department, saying only that the tip was provided by “residents.”
She said the inspectors found no risk posed by the pesticide used Sunday, which was approved and, she said, had no odour.
The department’s infraction system is twotiered: critical and noncritical, with the former used sparingly and only in cases that could be contributing factors to foodborne illness.
According to the city’s website, these include improper refrigeration or internal temperature of hazardous meats and poultry, crosscontamination between cooked and uncooked foods and the presence of insects or rodents that could potentially contaminate food.
In April, the same AW location received notice of a non-critical infraction because of improper use and storage of clean utensils.
Before that the restaurant was infraction-free dating back to 2013, the earliest inspection date available on the city’s website.
AW Canada could not be reached for comment but notices posted on cash registers of the closed outlet on Wednesday said it expects to reopen “by Friday morning.”
An employee who answered a phone call to the location said the restaurant was closed due to “equipment issues” and that the reopening depended on “how quickly we can get the parts in.”
Management of the mall said regular efforts are made to prevent such issues. “St. Laurent takes health and safety issues very seriously and we strive to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and safety at our property,” said general manager Mary Knapp in an email. “We implement regular, proactive pest control methods in addition to working with our retailers on a proactive pest control program.”
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