Monday, May 07, 2007

Tesco Staff: rat problem is bigger than you know!

The Andover Advertiser reports: An Andover Tesco superstore worker claims their rat problem is far bigger than has previously been suggested by the supermarket - and the infestation has been known about for at least 18 months.

But Tesco strongly refute the claim, saying they would have been shut down if that were so.

The store worker, who does not wish to be identified for fear of losing his job, claimed trays used in the home delivery service (the dot-com delivery area) were regularly found covered in rat droppings. He said staff joked about getting a cat in to deal with the vermin.

He said: "They've known they've had rats for ages but there's nothing they will do about it.

"If it was a little bakery or corner shop then a health inspector would be straight in there but because it's Tesco they think they can get away with it."

The worker said the issue was only being resolved now because of the Andover Advertiser breaking the story three weeks ago.

The original report of a mum spotting a rat inside the River Way superstore has generated dozens of comments on the Andover Advertiser's website since 20 April. Most of the comments state readers' disgust at Tesco's handling of the situation.

But a spokesman for Tesco said:"It's absolute rubbish that there have been rat droppings in the dot-com' delivery area. It's complete nonsense and I would query that source of information. We would refute these claims very strongly.

"The main thing to point out is that if there was any problem at all and the Environmental Health and Health and Safety Officers were concerned they would shut the place and of course that's not happened.

"Staff are taking it very seriously. There might be one or two junior guys that find it quite amusing but we take it very seriously.

"As for it only being sorted out because of the newspaper's involvement, well that's just complete nonsense."

In response to the original story on the 20 April a Tesco spokesman said that the store was aware of the problem but was adamant there was no risk to customers.

He said: "It's a case of taking every possible step we can to make sure these horrible things don't gain access."

A spokesperson for Test Valley Borough Council said: "Tesco has received, and will continue to receive, regular visits from the council as part of our regular food hygiene programme.

"We have been working closely with the store's management and the company's pest control service.

"They continue to take pest proofing measures which we will review with them."