Food Lover's Market temporarily closes Diepkloof store after rat videos spark public outcry

2019-01-08 12:16

Food Lover's Market has temporarily closed its Diepkloof Square store, after a video of a rat gnawing away at the salad bar surfaced on social media and sparked massive public outcry.

"The Diepkloof store has been closed as of 3pm on Monday afternoon, with banners advising customers of closure," Nigel Meintjes, group legal director told News24.

Food Lover’s Holdings, meanwhile, released a statement in which it apologised to its loyal customers.

"The Board of Food Lover's Holdings has, having seen the recent video and heard the public response to the state of the Diepkloof store, instructed the franchisee owner to temporarily close the store with immediate effect," CEO Brian Coppin said in the statement.

A team of specialists would now "deep clean" the store, ensuring it was again clean, hygienic and up to normal Food Lover's standards, Coppin said.

The store would be reopened in about a week's time.

Diepkloof wasn't the only Food Lover's Market to face criticism, after a second video showed what appeared to be two baby rodents on a bag of apples at the Jabulani Mall branch.

"In the meanwhile, we also wish to reiterate that all of our stores, wherever located, and whether corporate or franchised, are dealt with equally. This refers in particular to procurement, display and cleanliness of product," Coppin said.

Scheduled revamp

"We also demand, where stores fall short of our standards, that they take immediate remedial action, failing which they are dealt with severely."

He said stores were subject to a monthly mystery shopper visit by an independent company and were audited by their internal health and safety division on a quarterly basis.

"Clearly our standards have not been maintained at the Diepkloof store and, for that reason, we apologise to all our loyal customers."

The Diepkloof store would soon undergo a scheduled revamp to bring the store in line with the image achieved in their newer stores, Coppin said.

Meintjes told News24 that they had been advised of the customer complaint at the Jabulani Mall, where one shopper filmed two baby rodents crawling over a bag of apples.

"We've made contact with the customer to apologise in this regard," he said.

Their investigation at the store confirmed that this was an isolated incident and separate to that of the Diepkloof Square Food Lover's Market.

"In both instances, our first priority is to uphold and maintain the highest safety and hygiene standards for our consumers," Meintjes said.

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