New York City Health Department Takes Blame For Rat Fiasco

New York City’s Health Department has taken the blame for the KFC/Taco Bell rat infestation that made national news. (If, though some miracle you haven’t seen the footage yet, i.e. you’ve just come out of a coma or recently regained lost eye-sight, do give it a look. It’s worth it.) Anyhow, the inspector who gave a pass to the KFC/Taco Bell has resigned and the Health Department is, like, really sorry and stuff.

From Newsday:

After a thorough investigation, DOI found a disturbing lack of diligence on the part of the public health sanitarian who inspected the restaurant as well as a breakdown in the supervision of the inspector,” DOI Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn said.

The DOI said the inspector, Cemone Thomas, “underreported the rodent-related findings and failed to take proper action … which constituted a ‘gross dereliction’ of her duties.”

On Feb. 22, Thomas documented only 87 rat droppings and didn’t cite an additional 20, which would have caused the restaurant to fail the inspection and could have forced it to close immediately, the DOI said.

The DOI said evidence in the case suggested that Thomas simply couldn’t be bothered to do a more comprehensive report because she might have been trying to “avoid the additional time it would have taken for further enforcement steps.”

Lazy bastard. In other news, we’re reading Rats by Robert Sullivan and we are really enjoying it. —MEGHANN MARCO

Rat reports show NYC health inspection system is flawed
(Photo: Adam Lawrence)

PREVIOUSLY: KFC Taco Bell Rats Gone Wild: Raw Video Footage
Massive Pound-And-A-Half Rats Infest KFC/Taco Bell In The West Village


Edit Your Comment

  1. timmus says:

    I was going to say that the sign deserved a post of its own, but when I look closer I see it’s all just puns and groaners.

  2. layzboy1986 says:

    O man…. Americans the land of the fat and lazy!

  3. superlayne says:

    So, 87 rat turds are fine, but 100 is too much? Ugh. ANY should get some sort of action made.
    I’m never going to eat in New York fast food places. The possible ingestion of rat feces is just a little to groady for me.

  4. hemaphore says:


  5. silencedotcom says:

    “Who ratted us out?”

    Sorry, I just had to. ;)

  6. yoink says:

    Ultimately, (in response to the orginal topic), what else could be done? Do you really want Health and Mental Hygiene cooking you up some replacement chicken.

    Do people really eat at KFC anymore to begin with?

  7. browngt5 says:

    the popeye’s around the corner from my house on 14th St NW in DC is still closed after being closed by the DC health department over a week ago.

    baja fresh at dupont circle reopened in less than 24 hours after they were shut.

    there’s an article somewhere in the washington post about it, too. the surprise inspections were modeled after the NYC ones.

  8. asherchang says:

    cute sign

  9. Jiminy Christmas says:

    Let me get this straight. It’s the Health Department’s fault because, left to their own devices, Taco Bell won’t do anything about a bunch of rats running around in their restaurant?

    I don’t know about you, but if it were my kitchen I would take the initiative and not wait for the inspector to tell me that a bunch of rat shit is a problem. I guess they just don’t give a…rat’s ass.

  10. freakinalex says:

    Mental hygiene? I’ve never heard that before. What an odd phrase…

  11. Wormfather says:


    If you saw a rat crawl over your food after you took a bite, you’re mental hygiene would suffer just as much as your stomach…

  12. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @superlayne: But 87 is the proper amount of seasoning for your Grande nachos…100 well thats just overkill..

  13. IC18 says:

    @jrford8, well they do give a rat’s ass, only in a limited a time 7 layer ratchupa.

    The NYHD should look into this sleazy inspectors bank accounts and see if he is not suspiciously adding large amounts of cash above his pathetic salary amount, I smell a bribery.

  14. Trackback says:

    One of the several things I like about Consumerist is they follow up with stories most people forgot about long ago. Remember the story about the KFC/Taco Bell restaurant in New York City infested by rats?