Facebook posts of rodents prompt inspection of Wasilla Fred Meyer

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) -
This story has been updated to include a statement from Fred Meyer management.

Facebook videos showing rodent droppings and mice in the Fred Meyer in Wasilla prompted state health leaders to inspect the store last Friday.

"There are numerous rodent droppings throughout the store. Sticky traps are placed in areas where the rodents are likely found and rodents are being caught on a regular basis. The hired pest control company is visiting the store approximately twice per week and is regularly setting new traps," state inspectors wrote in inspection report.

Jeremy Ayers, Section Manager of the Division of Environmental Health's Food Safety and Sanitation Program said the department has received 11 complaints since the inspection on Friday.

Inspectors found two small openings to the outside of the store that could have been possible entry points for the pests. One door sweep appeared to have been chewed through, according to the report. Fred Meyer management agreed to seal off the openings as soon as possible.

"We have hired a professional company to visit our stores on a recurring basis to urgently eliminate the problem," Jeffery Temple, Director of Corporate Affairs told KTUU. "We recognize that this problem is a community issue that has affected other businesses as well. In response to the current situation, we have implemented an aggressive plan to correct the problem at its root causes."

Inspectors also found spilled bird seed and dog food. The report notes that the products could be an ideal food source for the rodents.

"The person in charge agreed that they and the pest control company need to come up with a different approach to eliminating the apparent rodent infestation. Employees will all be reminded of the importance of reporting any signs of rodents to management as well as eliminating and potential food sources as much as possible," the inspector wrote.

Temple says Fred Meyer facilities teams are conducting in-store repairs to seal any potential access points, and is working with the health department to ensure the problem is corrected.

Ayers says that the Division of Environmental Health uses Facebook and Twitter to find potential food safety risks, but social media cannot replace direct communication with the department.

The department's "Yuck Line" is a hot line set up for reporting food issues and food poisoning.

Ayers says anyone can call or text a photo or video of a potential issue, allowing the Food Safety and Sanitation Program to respond more quickly.

The number for the Yuck Line is (907) 764-YUCK.

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