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California Lucky Supermarket Temporarily Shuts Down Due to Pest Infestation

Shoppers reportedly complained about seeing rats throughout store
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Lucky supermarket
A Lucky grocery store in Novato, Calif., was shut down by the Marin County Health Department after evidence of rats.

A Lucky supermarket in in Novato, Calif., was forced to temporarily shut its doors last week, due to a rodent infestation.

KRON4 photographer visited the Lucky store at 1761 Grant Avenue and encountered a “Closed” sign from the County of Marin Environmental Health Services.

[Read more: "How Save Mart Is Gamifying Loyalty, Savings"]

“This facility was found to have violations of the California Health and Safety Code which constitute an immediate danger to public health or safety,” the sign said. “As a result, the permit to operate has been temporarily suspended and this facility has been ordered to remain closed until a written reinstatement of the permit has been issued.”

The sign, put up on Aug. 17, said that the violation was in the “insect/rodent control” category. Public health officials reportedly received complaints about rodents and rodent droppings throughout the store, including the pet food aisle, deli section, produce section, and behind items in the office and restroom areas.

The store reopened on Aug. 21 after conducting repairs and maintenance, as well as undergoing a thorough sanitation process. In a statement to Progressive Grocer, The Save Mart Cos., which owns the Lucky banner, said: “The Lucky Novato store team values and appreciates our shoppers and we welcome them back to the store. Lucky remains steadfast in our adherence to following food safety protocols and maintaining rigorous compliance with food safety standards, working closely with Marin County Environmental Health Services. We are committed to continue serving and investing in the Novato community.” 

Public Health officials say closures at big-chain grocery stores are rare, although not unheard of. 

Other supermarket banners that have recently encountered rodent troubles include a Kroger store in the Atlanta area, as reported by Atlanta News First. A few weeks ago, the Georgia Department of Agriculture identified rodent droppings and urine spots in the storage area of the Kroger on South Atlanta Road in Smyrna. The inspector also identified where rats had been gnawing on products, creating burrows.

Less than a day after an Atlanta News First investigation first uncovered the rat infestation, workers were reportedly cleaning the loading dock area and patching up drain holes to keep out the rodents.

Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx. The company also operates SMART Refrigerated Transport and is a partner in Super Store Industries. Save Mart is No. 52 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North AmericaCincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100 and was also named to the publicationRetailers of the Century list.

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