Rats! Area Malls Aren't for Eating

Roach, rodent infestation at mall food courts

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    There may be more on the menu than you anticipate when you sit down to eat at the local mall.

    A study by the Washington Examiner found roach and rodent infestations to be common in food courts and restaurants at shopping malls all around the Washington area.

    The Examiner analyzed the health records for 12 malls in northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Md., over the past year.

    Overall, Virginia and Maryland health inspectors cited roughly three-quarters of all mall food vendors for violating critical health regulations during the past year, according to the report.

    The Food and Drug Administration defines critical violations as those posing an "imminent health hazard" to diners.

    Violations range from improper hand washing to serving contaminated food.

    So, how does your mall rank?

    Ballston Common, Pentagon City and Landmark Mall appeared to fare the worst with every food vendor cited for one or more critical health code violations.

    About three quarters of food vendors were cited at Westfield Wheaton, Lakeforest, Potomac Mills, Fair Oaks and Tysons Corner Center.

    And roughly 50 percent of food vendors were cited for violations at White Flint, Westfield Montgomery, Dulles Town Center and Manassas Mall.

    Health officials told the Examiner the pest problems are nearly impossible to prevent because clothing and electronics stores aren't subject to health regulations or inspections and pests often sneak into malls by hiding in shipping and packaging boxes.


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