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Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
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In December we told you how the public health department had descended on Isaray Bakery in Belize City, and shut it down. Well, today, that didn't happen, but the public health department was summoned to go inspect a local baker after a bread buyer claims to have found a speck of rat droppings baked into his bread.

It's the kind of discovery that would turn the stomach of even a starving man - and Leopold Pinedas told us how it made him feel. Here's his story:..

Jules Vasquez reporting
This is what Leopoldo Pineda found in a slice of bread he was about to eat today.

Leopoldo Pineda
"I said what is this funny thing in the bread because I know about the rat faeces when they stool."

Marion Ali, Love FM
"This wasn't just dropped there?"

Leopoldo Pineda
"No this was baked in it because you can see it. I can show you again. Watch it good; you see how deep it is, and watch over the other side. You can't see anything. That's why when i eat bread I always flip the other side."

So he came here to the Public Health Department where he went to make a complaint - bread in hand.

There was no inspector in office so he went to the baker on Castle Street, and shortly after, the public health team rolled up and rolled in.

The team led by Senior Inspector Mark Bernard examined the compound for about an hour - and while we weren't allowed in - the team was given all-access - led by owner Wilfredo Chang.

After, Bernard shared his observations:

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"As you have seen, we responded quickly. A quick preliminary investigation there revealed that there is slight rodent infestation. It is not enough to merit closure, otherwise he would have been closed by now. You can be assured of that one. I think you have followed us and seen that we really take this kind of thing seriously. But we will be giving him a report by tomorrow morning with immediate things to do - medium and long term - and we expect that immediately he will do those things."

Jules Vasquez
"In the public's mind, to many people, there is no such thing as signs of rodent infestation - either you have rats or you don't have rats."

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"No, but you have degrees of infestation."

Jules Vasquez
"Explain that for me."

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"You might have, say, a slight infestation where you have 5 rats in your home, and you say you are infested, or you might have 10, 15, 20, 100 rats. So the higher the numbers, the more severe the infestation is."

Jules Vasquez
"And then there is such a thing as a tolerable level or a manageable level of infestation?"

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"Well, I'll be honest with you again. If you go to any major food company there are rodents, they are low infestation."

Jules Vasquez
"So then would you say that it is: a) within the acceptable or a tolerable level and b) it's more or less in line with I would find at any food establishment?"

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"Yes, definitely. It is a slight infestation given the size of the building; it's a three storey building. I don't want to compare it, but you have seen us in the past actually close down bakeries because of the high level of infestation."

"This has not reached that stage to say 'You know what, lets close this place down in interest of the health and safety of the public.' The fact remains that it will remain open says, 'that we consider the risk extremely small'."

And Bernard says he's not even sure what it is an extremely small piece of:

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"What I will do, I'll take it over to BAHA so we can look at the particle under a microscope to try to ascertain if it is rat or roach faeces; what is it. Or there are times when the little stuff off the pan also drops on the bread. I don't know what it is. I can't comment because I haven't seen it."

And as unpleasant as it may sound, if the speck of faeces was baked into the bread - it's actually not that unsafe:

Mark Bernard, Senior Health Inspector
"Was it baked in the product or was the product contaminated afterwards? If it was baked in the product then there is a certain amount of heat involved which would kind of attenuate the effects, so to speak."

Of course, that's no consolation to this man:..

Jules Vasquez
"What would you want out of this? You want the baker to compensate you with a pack of bread?"

Leopoldo Pineda
"I don't want any pack of bread because I am thinking about stop eating pack bread now, and start to do my own flour tortillas and corn tortilla and so, because I want everybody to see what kind of bread they are buying."

The public health department will give NICE Bakery a detailed list of the things they need to do by tomorrow. Owner Willie Chang declined on camera comment but spoke to us freely and told us his business will do whatever they are required to do to be fully compliant.

Channel 7

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

It is perhaps something that happens more times than it is reported - rat feces found in a pack of bread. It was discovered today by this man, Leopold Pineda, who said that he went to this shop on the Northern Highway to purchase the pack of bread to have with a fried chicken for lunch. He was halfway through the pack of bread when he discovered this - a black spec closely resembling rat feces. We say closely because it has to go through tests before it is confirmed that it really is what we think it is. But whatever it turns out to be, Pineda wasn't pleased.

Leopold Pineda, discovered rat feces in bread
"When I reach down here I saw it inside the bread. I told the man I told him I wanted him to change the bread and he said it was not their fault, it's the bakery."

The bakery that produced the bread is Maria Chang's on Castle Street, which produces bread and pasta using the label "Nice". Shortly after we arrived there, public health officials reached because they had been alerted of Pineda's discovery. Following a thorough inspection of Chang's premises, Senior Public Health Inspector, Mark Bernard, told reporters what they discovered.

Mark Bernard, Senior Public Health Officer
"A preliminary investigation there revealed that there is slight rodent infestation, it is not enough to merit closure or else he would be closed by now. I think you have followed us to see we take this seriously. We will be giving him report by tomorrow morning with immediate things to do, medium and long terms and we expect him to do those things and of course we will monitor him."

Pineda told us that his discovery has so displeased him that he will change his diet, and he was convinced that the foreign element came from the bakery. The proprietor of the business, Wilfredo Chang, did not give us an on-camera interview, but he did say that his bakery has been in business for at least ten years and that they try to keep things neat and tidy. He added that his bakery will endeavour to meet all the requirements of the Public Health Department.


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