The Ministry for Primary Industries is investigating after a video posted to the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu shows a mouse on top of a salad at Christchurch’s Eastgate Countdown.
Woolworths New Zealand director of stores Jason Stockill confirmed the incident occurred at the Eastgate store in Christchurch where a live mouse was discovered in the salad section of the deli on the evening of Wednesday, February 7.
“The incident was reported and Rentokil came to the site and identified some entry points which have now been sealed,” Stockill said.
He said a dead mouse was found the next day “indicating its pest control programme is working and there have been no sightings since".
Stockdill said while rodent control was an ongoing focus for the food industry, his team believed 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.
MPI’s New Zealand Food Safety deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle said New Zealand Food Safety is 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,” Arbuckle said.
“We will have a food compliance officer at the Eastgate store today as part of our investigation.”
It’s not the only Countdown store facing rodent problems after pest controllers caught 13 rats at South Dunedin’s Countdown at the weekend.
The Ministry for Primary Industries recommended that Woolworths not reopen the store.
Woolworths New Zealand said there was still no evidence of rats nesting in the store, but work at the weekend, while the store was closed for pest control, uncovered new “entry points”, the store had been unaware of.