A downtown gas station has been ordered to close its kitchen and food preparation areas after it failed a health inspection due to infestations of mice, flies and cockroaches.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) shut down the kitchen at Churchill Husky at 10608 107th Ave. on March 29. The kitchen serves chicken and samosas.
In the closure order, AHS said it found "a significant cockroach infestation" with "live and dead German cockroaches of all life stages."
In addition, "rodent infestation was present and active," the order states. "Mouse droppings and dead mice noted along with significant chewing activity."
The order also states that flies were present and active and "extremely poor sanitation was noted throughout the food facility."
In total, AHS found 14 violations of the Public Health Act and the Food Retail and Foodservices Code.
The order is still active, AHS spokesperson Kirsten Goruk said in an email.
Must clean up before re-opening
While the rest of the gas station and convenience store remains open, the food service area has been draped in plastic sheeting.
A notice of the order from AHS has been attached to the counter under the plastic.
The business owners were ordered to work with a licensed pest control company and to clean the food service area before they can re-open.
"It wasn't that many," Ismail Ahmed, one of the owners, said about the number of cockroaches and mice in the kitchen.
"We had a pest control in place but just [in] the springtime, we got too many of them. But it wasn't that bad. I don't think we need a closure for that."
Ahmed said AHS came to check out his kitchen after a complaint from a disgruntled ex-employee.
"The minute, you know, you fire somebody … but at the end of the day, like you know, it was our fault, we should have kept it up to date."
Customers missing the food
Ahmed said he's not appealing the order.
"We just clean up all the equipment. We've got pest people in place, I mean they were there, but now they [are] coming in and doing regular maintenance," he said.
Ahmed said it's challenging keeping on top of everything in a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week business.
He said he's been in business for 15 years and that his customers are missing the food.
"They [are] missing the coffee and they [are] missing the chicken," he said. "Every second customer comes in and they say, 'Where's the food?' "
Ahmed said he should re-open within two weeks.
Until the work in the kitchen and food preparation areas are completed to the satisfaction of AHS, those areas will remain closed.