Wal-Mart’s Thompson store is operating under a new license after passing an inspection Friday. That ended an action by the state to shut down the store’s food-processing operation because of a rodent infestation.
The retail giant voluntarily surrendered the Thompson store’s food-processing license – which covered its bakery and deli sections – on June 19, the last of three days of hearings at the state Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Albany offices. Two days later, Wal-Mart submitted $400 and an application for a new license.
Inspectors visited the store June 22 and cleared Walmart to immediately reopen its bakery and deli.
“The outcome of this is that this store is now in compliance with our food-safety regulations and is able to continue to do business in Sullivan County,” said Jessica Ziehm, a spokeswoman for Ag & Markets.
Friday’s inspection noted some “old appearing” mouse droppings on the warehouse floor as well as other minor violations. None was serious enough to fail the store.
The successful inspection ends a saga that began last September, when the Thompson store failed the first of seven health inspections.
Thousands of mouse droppings were found, according to inspection reports, as well as gnawed packages and other health violations. The violations were found at locations that included the cake-decorating and deli areas and the bread and snack food aisles.
The most recent failed inspection took place on June 7. Along with more droppings, a mouse-chewed candy bar was found under a checkout aisle shelf.
A group of Wal-Mart officials traveled to Albany on June 13 to begin what amounted to three days of hearings before an examiner was brought in to determine if the store could keep its food-processing license.
The hearing was the first step in a process that could have shut down Walmart’s entire food operations and eventually led to the closure of the whole store.
The company spent weeks cleaning the store, bringing in a pest-control company each day for at least two weeks, deploying mouse traps and patching holes to the outside.
The store has also “reinforced” pest-management procedures with employees and will continue to monitor problem areas, said Kayla Whaling, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
“We’re pleased with the store’s diligent efforts to correct this and to make sure that this doesn’t reoccur,” she said.