Food market where mice spotted snacking on sweets closed for inspection
Codi Wilson and Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Monday, July 17, 2017 12:58PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 18, 2017 12:14AM EDT
Toronto Public Health has closed a Queen Street food market where two mice were caught on camera snacking on some baked goods this past weekend.
The mice were spotted on Saturday munching on some treats on the display counter of the Meli Baklava and Chocolate Bar, located inside a food market near Queen and John streets.
Mohammad Valipour, who noticed the mice through the window, started recording the rodents on his cellphone on Saturday night.
In an interview with CTV News Toronto on Sunday, he called the incident “disgusting.”
“When I looked more I saw some mouse feces around the trays,” he said.
The building which houses the bakery is also home to a number of other food stalls and public health officials confirmed Monday afternoon that the whole building has been closed.
A public health employee was spotted at the bakery on Monday afternoon and confirmed to CTV News Toronto that the building is currently under inspection.
In an emailed statement, Toronto Public Health said they respond to all food safety-related complaints within 24 hours.
“Appropriate actions will be taken based on the findings of an inspection. If a health hazard is identified, the establishment will be ordered closed and legal action taken. The premises will be required to remain closed until the health hazard is abated. Significant infractions will result in a Conditional Pass and a re-inspection will be done within 24 - 48 hours,” the statement read.
The heritage building at 238 Queen Street West is owned by the City of Toronto and is under a long-term lease with an operator who rents out stalls to vendors.
Speaking with CP24 on Monday, a man who handles the contracts for the operator said the building is regularly inspected for rodents.
“There is no infestation,” Socrates Stavrou said. “The market is clean and the market follows the health regulations. Each tenant is individually operating their unit.”
However Julie Kyriakaki, one of the co-owners of the baklava shop, said the building has seen problems with mice before and said the building managers need to do more.
“It was an issue in the past that had been resolved. Obviously the issue reoccurred this week,” Kyriakaki said.
Kyriakaki reiterated that the products that were in the window were meant as a type of advertisement display and were not for sale.
“I want to reassure everybody that our products come in sealed from our production facility which has all the health inspections and all the criteria met. What the people saw was not products (that are) sold,” she said.
Meli Baklava and Chocolate Bar passed its last city health inspection on Feb. 6.
However Kyriakaki said the shop will comply with orders from Toronto Public Health to wash down the surfaces with disinfectant and cover all products, even those for display, going forward.
One of the vendors who spoke to CTV News Toronto said mice have not been a problem for the owners of other food stalls in the building. While she’s unhappy about losing revenue because of the temporary closure, she said it’s worthwhile if it reassures people that the building is clean and safe.
“I’d rather the problem get taken care of and everybody feel comfortable that the food is safe,” she said.
-With reports from CTV Toronto’s Miranda Anthistle and Natalie Johnson