Toronto health authorities close down entire market where mice caught eating sweets
Published Monday, July 17, 2017 3:01PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 17, 2017 4:26PM EDT
All the food kiosks in a Toronto market have been shut down by health inspectors after mice eating pastries in a store window were filmed by a passerby Sunday.
The city’s public health department also says both the owner of the market and each of its establishments could face prosecution for failure to prevent a rodent infestation under the province's food premises legislation.
Toronto Public Health sent a team of inspectors to the Queen Street West location Monday morning. The shops were initially open for business but shut down sometime before noon while the investigation continued.
Other business owners in the Queen Live Fresh Food Market told CTV Toronto that they are unhappy they’ve been closed down because the mouse problem was limited to Meli Baklava and Chocolate Bar in the front portion of the building. They said they wrap and put away all food when they close up for the night.
“It’s not going to come to our store because we clean it and we wrap everything when we close … We cover all the food. So we don’t worry about it,” said Rose Lokele at a pizza stall.
Julie Kyriakaki, co-owner of Meli Baklava and Chocolate Bar, says mice are a problem in the entire building but that anything left out on display is never served to customers and that what is sold is hidden away in drawers.
Other vendors say they don’t have problems with rodents.
“None of us other vendors have had the issues that she’s had," said Sharon Slacks, owner of The Jerk Joint. She said leaving food out overnight "creates an issue.”
She said being shut down is difficult.
“But I’d rather the problem get taken of and everybody feel comfortable that the food is safe and the building is safe.”
A property manager told CTV News that a pest control company comes into the building at least once a month. He also said on a previous visit, the pest control company told the baklava shop to cover up any food left on display.
Kyriakaki told CTV News Sunday it was her intention to cover food left overnight.
She has written to the building’s owner asking for help.
“Please let us know what extra measures you will be taking for this very serious issue," she wrote in a letter provided to CTV Toronto.
Toronto’s Dinesafe program inspects restaurants up to three times a year, depending on the amount and type of food served. Meli has passed four inspections, including the last one Feb. 6.
The city bought the heritage building in 1988 with the aim to turn it into a destination market and signed a 50-year lease with a company to manage it. In 2008, they got into a dispute with the company over unpaid rent and other issues.
It is unclear whether the original property management company is still managing it.
With a report from CTV Toronto