A cockroach scurries around the feet of customers. A rat darts through the kitchen. These scenes are not uncommon at Southern California restaurants, which are experiencing a rise in closures due to vermin, according to an NBC4 I-Team investigation.
"My first gut reaction was to throw up," Angel Manzanero told the I-Team. He was referring to the time he says he and his friends spotted a live roach in their sweet and sour sauce at the Golden Palace in North Hollywood. Roaches have been found there on two inspections in the last two years. "I'm surprised they’re still open," said Manzanero.
The Golden Palace didn’t respond to NBC4's request for comment.
In 2017, inspectors closed 743 restaurants because of vermin infestations. That's up more than 20 percent from the 609 closures in 2014. Rats and roaches pose a big public health threat to restaurant diners.
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"Their pooping all over everything, they're peeing all over everything," says Sylvia Kenmuir, a state license pest control advisor who helps school districts and restaurants get rid of vermin infestations.
"Roaches and rodents can spread disease and it's going to be through feces, the urine, the saliva, and it’s going to be all over the food," Kenmuir told NBC4.
The I-Team obtained exclusive pictures and videos of vermin at well known restaurants. Watch the story above to see where we documented infestations.
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