Another day, another rat for troubled Countdown

A photo taken in November last year,showed a rat in its Countdown Dunedin South deli section.
A photo taken in November last year showed a rat in its Countdown Dunedin South deli section. Photo: Supplied
The reopening of South Dunedin's Countdown has been delayed another day – to Friday – after another rat was caught at the store this morning.

However, Woolworths has quashed rumours staff are being forced to take leave with efforts to make the supermarket rat free under way.

Countdown Dunedin South, at 323 Andersons Bay Rd, has been closed since February 10 so the company can do intensive pest-control work at the store.

Today, a Woolworths New Zealand spokeswoman said a rat was caught at the store this morning. 

"We have had one capture this morning so we are now looking at a Friday reopening, the spokeswoman said.

Further, the store's staff were still working, she said.

"We have given our Dunedin South team the options of completing work in-store, working in another nearby store or taking annual leave if they would prefer to. Our team isn't required to take leave or being asked to take leave - there’s lots of work available."

Countdown Dunedin South will remain closed until both the Ministry for Primary Industries’ New Zealand Food Safety and Woolworths are satisfied newly imposed additional pest-control measures have worked.

New Zealand Food Safety deputy director-general Vincent Arbuckle said any decision around reopening would be guided by evidence the store was clear of rats and there were effective measures in place to ensure ongoing food safety.

"To that end we will continue to monitor the store after it reopens."

The store needed to have a rat-free day and then a 48-hour period following to show pest control efforts were managing the risk.

Effective rat control meant dealing with any evidence of rats at the store including nests and there were no reports last week of nests in the store or in the surrounding areas, Mr Arbuckle said.