A New York City health inspector has been removed from field duty after giving a passing grade to a fast-food restaurant infested with rats.
The inspector's written report said she found 76 fresh rodent droppings when she surveyed the Manhattan KFC Taco Bell last week. She told the restaurant to clean up, sanitize its equipment and hire an exterminator. But she allowed the Manhattan eatery to stay open.
A day later, television cameras captured footage of rats climbing on tables and scurrying across the floor of the Taco Bell restaurant in Greenwich Village.
A second official was sent to inspect the restaurant. It's now closed.
The New York City health department promised a thorough review to make sure its inspectors are doing their work correctly.
Not open at the time
The restaurant was not open when the rats were spotted on last week. The company said construction in the basement appeared to have stirred up the rodents.
“This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards,” Yum Brands said in a statement on Friday.
Rats have long been a problem in densely populated New York City. They are frequently seen scampering through subway tunnels, rooting through trash, dashing across parks and burrowing into the walls of apartment buildings.
Greenwich Village tends to be a happy home for them because of its combination of older buildings and a tangle of subway lines converging just below street level.
Still, it was rare to see so many rats congregating in one place in such public view.