Alberta health agency closes down Chinese restaurant infested with cockroaches

LETHBRIDGE — A popular Chinese restaurant in the southern Alberta city of Lethbridge has been ordered to shut down after an inspection found a heavy cockroach infestation.

The New Dynasty Restaurant in the city’s downtown wasn’t keeping high-risk foods at proper temperatures either.

Alberta Health Services says it conducted an inspection after receiving a customer complaint.

The report says live cockroaches were observed on walls, floors and shelves; dead cockroaches were found in glue traps and egg casings were also discovered.

Medical health officer Dr. Vivien Suttorp says the order to close earlier this week is not punitive, but falls under the Public Health Act’s duty to inform.

She says there is no risk to anyone who ate at New Dynasty in the days before it was shut down.

“This isn’t a closure where we have a risk and need to do a ‘look-back exercise’ and call people who have eaten somewhere and have been exposed to a disease,” she said Thursday.

“This is not a risk like that. This is more a proactive measure to prevent transmission of diseases,” she said.

“A sudden closure like this is very rare. When we had a complaint earlier this week, and then … went to inspect, we found a significant cockroach infestation.

“They’re little German cockroaches. They’re quite small, about a centimetre. We knew what they were.”

Postings outside the restaurant said it was closed for “emergency in-house maintenance.” Attempts for comment from staff were unsuccessful.

The inspection’s discoveries also included chicken pieces thawing in a sink, more than 20 packages of ribs left to thaw at room temperature, two food cans in a cooler with mould on the exterior and food items not properly covered.

Suttorp said Alberta Health Services does three annual inspections at restaurants.

She said there were no “critical items” found in past inspections of New Dynasty.

Cockroaches are not common to southern Alberta, Suttorp said, although the health agency has seen them in housing.

She said the noctural creatures multiply quickly, can transmit bacterial infections to food and through food, and their feces can cause allergies.

A certified pest control company is to be called in and food safety courses will be recommended for staff.

Suttorp did not provide a specific timeline.

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