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Health department shuts down Bobby McGee's for rat problem

December 15, 1999|By Leslie Simmons

BURBANK VILLAGE -- A tip from a customer that rat droppings were seen

in Bobby McGee's restaurant has led to its permanent closure, a county

health official said Tuesday.

The restaurant was closed down on Dec. 7 during an inspection based on

a customer complaint that rodent droppings were seen in the dining area,

said Mike Spear, a county health department director.

"Not only was a live rat found on the premises, which was injured in

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some matter, but numerous droppings were found in the food, equipment and

on the floors," Spear said. "They found rodent droppings in bulk onions,

the salad station area, in bread mix, bread crumbs, croutons, red onions,

on the floor, in the equipment and in the customer area."

After a hearing on Dec. 9 about the rodent problem, Spear said he was

contacted by restaurant officials that Bobby McGee's was going to close

permanently.

Spear said he had asked restaurant officials at the hearing why the

obvious problems were not fixed.

"They said they were using a pest control service," he said. "They

should have taken the steps necessary -- even close down for a few days

-- so that the problem and the rodents were killed and that the entry

point was found and sealed."

Messages left Tuesday at Performance Restaurant Group, the

Phoenix-based corporation that owns Bobby McGee's, for comment on the

closure were not returned.

Spear said the Dec. 9 hearing was to consider if the county should

revoke the restaurants health permit since it was the second closure in a

year due to rodent infestation.

On Oct. 13, Spear said the restaurant shut down for two days after

evidence of rodent infestation was found. At a hearing two days later,

the restaurant was allowed to reopen because they claimed that an

exterminator had been there and that some rodent proofing had taken

place, he said.

"This time, this was going to be a determination to revoke the permit

because they allowed it a second time," Spear said.

Spear said he continued last week's hearing so that he could go to the

restaurant and see the problems firsthand.

"I didn't have to," he said. "They called and said they were going out

of business."

Spear said that rodent infestation poses a great risk to people's

health including the possibility of contracting a disease that has a

tendency to attack the liver.

"You don't want to consume food that's contaminated with fecal

matter," he said. "Even if there was no disease in the rats, people

expect clean, wholesome food served to them."

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