October 7, 2008

Rodent Problem Closes Point Richmond Market

By Katherine Tam

The Santa Fe Market in Point Richmond was shut down Monday after a county health inspector found evidence of a rodent infestation.

The market owner must hire a pest control professional to eradicate the problem, said Joe Doser, county supervising health inspector in food safety. County officials will reinspect the store and reopen it if the problem has been fixed. In addition, an administrative hearing will be held in about 30 days to determine whether the case should be referred to the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office.

The Santa Fe Market at 155 W. Richmond Ave. was shut down in 2007 because the store did not have a health permit as required.

The county inspects about 4,000 such businesses in unannounced visits twice annually and typically closes 200 or so in a year. Stores are shut down if they lack a permit or if inspectors find an immediate health hazard such as signs of a rodent or cockroach infestation, sewage backup or lack of hot water, which is critical for handwashing and sanitary purposes, Doser said.

Packaged foods purchased from the market should be fine to eat, Doser said. Nonpackaged products might be more of a concern because it is possible they were exposed to rodents and their urine or droppings.

Reach Katherine Tam at 510-262-2787 or [email protected]

Originally published by Katherine Tam, West County Times.

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