Rat chowder video: Food from commissary kitchen 'unfit for human consumption,' inspector found
Social media video allegedly shows a rat being lifted out of bread bowl on a spoon at Crab Park Chowdery. (Instagram)
An inspection ordered after a dead rat was allegedly found in a Vancouver restaurant's chowder determined all the food prepared in its commissary kitchen was "unfit for human consumption."
According to the documents, Vancouver Coastal Health inspector Karen Rehbein visited Crab Park Chowdery on Dec. 28 – a day after an Instagram user posted a viral clip purportedly showing the rodent being lifted out of one of the restaurant's Manhattan clam chowder bread bowls.
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The short video prompted a swift reaction online, and resulted in several complaints to Vancouver Coastal Health.
The report says Rehbein inspected the basement kitchen at Mamie Taylor's restaurant, where Crab Park Chowdery owner Ashton Phillips said its chowder was prepared.
In her report, Rehbein noted that "general sanitation was poor," adding that staff could be seen removing debris from the side of a walk-in cooler when she and another inspector arrived.
"A cockroach was sighted running over Mr. Phillips's head," she wrote. "Mouse droppings were noted inside the walk-in cooler, as well as in the food preparation and food storage areas. A thick accumulation of rodent excrement and accumulated debris was noted on plumbing lines situated above the cooking equipment."
Rehbein noted other concerns, including a sewer line located directly above prep tables, unfinished walls and issues with safe food handling practices.
The 10-litre plastic containers into which the restaurant transferred the cooked chowder were not covered after being placed in the walk-in cooler, she wrote, adding that "equipment, utensils and/or food contact surfaces are not in a condition that ensures safe and sanitary food handling."
Chowdery closed, Mamie Taylor's now complying with health standards: owner
According to the report, Phillips was ordered to discard all chowder, soups and other foods prepared or stored at Mamie Taylor's.
Mamie Taylor's itself was told to close over the incident, but was given the green light to reopen a day later.
"As the landlord of the commissary kitchen, I moved quickly to assess and remedy the situation as soon as it was brought to my attention that the commercial space had failed to comply with health standards," Mamie Taylor's owner Ron Oliver told CTV News in an email Tuesday. "Subsequently, and in response to this situation, I closed the commissary kitchen indefinitely."
Phillips has consistently denied the rat incident took place as depicted and has questioned the authenticity of the video, but Crab Park Chowdery ended up closing its doors for good in January.
"Unfortunately it has been a catastrophic event. It's not an image we can outrun," Phillips said at the time. "It's been a great run."
Since obtaining the inspection report through the Freedom of Information Act, CTV News has also reached out to the owner of Crab Park Chowdery for comment, but has not heard back.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Allison Hurst
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