State monitoring Wasilla Fred Meyer rodent problem
State health inspectors are monitoring a pest problem at the Wasilla Fred Meyer after complaints of rodents throughout the store.
A video posted to social media alerted staff at the Department of Environmental Conservation’s food safety office to the issue.
Program manager Jeremy Ayers said the department has received about a dozen more complaints since then.
He said a supervisor inspector went to the store on Friday, Aug. 9, a day after the Facebook video went up.
In the report the supervisor wrote he found two small outside openings.
“One door sweep appeared to be chewed through creating an entry point (emergency exit near customer pickup as well as automatic doors leading to home and garden outdoor section). Person in charge agreed to seal off these openings as soon as possible,” Nathan Maxwell wrote.
Maxwell noted he observed “numerous rodent droppings throughout the store” and found sticky traps were catching rodents on a regular basis.
Earlier this week a corporate spokesperson for Fred Meyer said the company is implementing “aggressive” cleaning and working with a third-party pest management company.
Ayers said the state is there to make sure the company follows through.
“We’re there to ensure not only that progress is being made but that there potentially isn’t a significant hazard to the public,” Ayers said. “Obviously when you have rodents in a facility that’s bad and they do pose a potential health risk. So we need to make sure the risk to the public is minimized as much as possible.”
One customer said she first noticed signs of rodents in February. But Ayers said no one made a formal complaint to DEC until after the video was seen on social media.
Ayers encourages people to report any food safety or health issues they find right away.
“We only have about 13 full-time inspectors for the state. So we can’t be in the facilities as much as we’d like to. It’s important if the public sees something, if they alert us to it and we know there’s a problem we can get someone in there sooner to correct the issue,” Ayers said.
DEC has a complaint line set up where people can text information along with pictures or videos. People can also ask to keep their complaint anonymous. That number is 907-764-YUCK.
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