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Best places to find rats: local chain food stores

SHANGHAI supermarkets that were checked recently by local health teams are experiencing the Month of the Rat.

All four of the chains inspected so far showed rodent traces that exceeded health standards, and in the worst case the rat droppings and other traces were more than 20 times the allowable limit.

The Shanghai Patriotic Health Campaign Committee, a local government agency in charge of pest control, began a month-long campaign on March 20 to stamp out vermin in local markets.

The first phase centered on cleaning up the stores. The second, which began on Tuesday, involves checks at five outlets at each of 12 major supermarket chains.

So far, 19 outlets of four supermarket chains have been inspected, and none met cleanliness requirements.

The inspectors were on the lookout for any sign of rodents, including droppings, footprints, scratches and bite marks. The city's allowable level of rodent traces is 2 percent of all areas checked within in a store.

The highest "rat index" reading was 41.3 percent at the Jiangwan outlet of Hualian GMS. The five Lotus outlets checked averaged 11.74 percent, Metro's outlets rated 9.2 percent and Century Lianhua 8 percent.

The committee discovered mice and rat droppings at sales counters for bread and cooked food in outlets of Hualian GMS.

Fresh rat droppings were found at a warehouse for Century Lianhua while its cash counters and fire extinguisher boxes exhibited rat markings. An outlet of Lotus on Yanggao Road S. had rat marks 10 times above the standard.

"The final result will be announced after the inspection is finished, and we will organize training for the supermarkets found to have severe problems," said Peng Guilan, an official with the committee. "We can also impose fines ranging from 2,000 yuan (US$293) to 5,000 yuan."

Officials said a serious rat problem usually indicates poor management awareness and incorrect operations. For instance, door gaps and drainage grates should be smaller than 6 millimeters to prevent rats from entering.

Inspectors were also on the lookout for cockroaches, and all the stores checked came in below the city standard of 3 percent of sampled areas.

But that good news was tempered by the fact that breeding season for the roaches doesn't start until June.


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