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USDA - A mouse in the house

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Mike

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Employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's main cafeteria were just
sitting down to lunch on Friday when, according to this story, security
guards ordered everyone in the huge eatery to leave because of mouse
droppings. The D.C. Department of Health closed the cafeteria for failing to
pass inspection.
The story says that the USDA, home to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service, the meat and poultry inspectors -- the agency that is part of the
federal system for protecting the nation's food supply, was in violation of
the D.C. Health Code.
There were several citations, according to the inspection report, including:
"water leaking excessively" in the ceiling, employees not wearing hair
restraints, and inadequate cleaning of the inside of ice machines, cabinets,
surfaces and equipment.
The biggest problem, however, seemed to be mouse droppings found everywhere
-- in the dry storage room, by the salad bar, behind the ovens, near the
serving line, behind the soda machines. There were dead mice in one trap.
The rodents can cause some serious diseases.
Theodore J. Gordon, senior deputy director for environmental health science
and regulation for the D.C. health department, was quoted as saying, "These
conditions make people sick. It's inexcusable for these conditions to be
allowed. This is just basic sanitation. This is elbow grease -- it doesn't
cost money. People are entitled to safe food."
The cafeteria, which feeds many hundreds of employees each day for breakfast
and lunch and afternoon noshes, is more important for employees at USDA than
cafeterias at other agencies because there are few commercial alternatives
nearby.
Officials moved over the weekend to make repairs, reinforcing barriers to
any possible entrance for the critters and adding traps -- none has been
caught -- and fixing the ceiling.

Washington Post
 

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