Woolworths has apologised to customers after a live mouse was filmed crawling on a deli salad bowl at one of its Christchurch Countdown supermarkets last week.
The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) said a food compliance officer had been sent to the Eastgate store today and has asked Woolworths to provide it with more information.
A video posted to a Chinese social media platform last Wednesday showed the mouse crawling on the uncovered bowl of ready-to-eat food in a deli cabinet.
In the seven-second clip, the rodent can be seen crawling over chunks of food, before climbing the rim of the bowl itself.
Woolworths director of stores Jason Stockill said the incident happened at the company’s Eastgate store in the suburb of Linwood.
“We can confirm there was an incident at our Eastgate store in Christchurch where a live mouse was discovered in the salad section of the deli on the evening of February 7.
“The incident was reported and Rentokil came to the site and identified some entry points which have now been sealed. A dead mouse was found the next day, indicating our pest control programme is working and there have been no sightings since.
“We would like to apologise to our customers for this incident and reassure them that food safety remains a focus for us.
“While rodent control is an ongoing focus for the food industry and we believe this was an isolated incident, we take this extremely seriously and are reviewing our pest management control programme for the store alongside Rentokil.
“Our store team work hard every day to maintain our high standards for cleanliness and work closely with pest control services to manage rodent populations that can be found in urban areas,” he said in a statement.
A spokesperson for MPI said authorities were investigating the incident.
New Zealand Food Safety deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle said the agency was “aware of a reported rodent sighting in Countdown Eastgate in Christchurch.
“We are concerned about this incident, given the ongoing issue at Countdown Dunedin South, and have asked Woolworths to provide us more information. We will have a Food Compliance Officer at the Eastgate store today as part of our investigation.”
It comes as one of Woolworths’ Dunedin stores remains closed due to a rat issue.
Dunedin South Countdown has had an ongoing issue with rodents over the past several months. The store closed several days ago for pest control over the weekend.
On Friday, a spokesperson said: “We believed we had addressed the issue, as there had been no evidence of rodent activity since January 28. Unfortunately, we have caught four rodents over the last few days so it is clear we have more work to do.”
The company initially closed the store for 48 hours, but has since extended it.