'Makes me want to vomit': Rat seen at restaurant in Sydney food court
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'Makes me want to vomit': Rat seen at restaurant in Sydney food court

The City of Sydney has blamed a recent rise in rat sightings across the CBD on "unprecedented" construction work, as two restaurants in as many weeks had to close to deal with rodents.

The Sydney Westfield storefront of popular Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung voluntarily closed on Thursday after a video surfaced of a rat scurrying around its kitchen area.

Sydney resident Lucy Hui, who posted the video and tagged Din Tai Fung Australia in the post, said it was sent to her.

"Makes me want to vomit," she wrote. "Never eating there again....and it was a favourite."

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Her post prompted the restaurant chain to reply in the comments with an apology and assurance that "we immediately activated our pest control specialists as well as professional cleaners to inspect and disinfect our premises as a priority.

"We are also conducting thorough investigations and improving measures in pest defence during post-operations hours. This is important as we already clean, disinfect and secure the kitchen on a daily basis, yet it's clear we can do even better."

The chain apologised "for the situation" in a statement on Thursday.

"Food safety is of utmost importance to us and we would like to state our unwavering commitment to this, and to thank our customers for their support and understanding."

A spokesman for the City of Sydney said an environmental health officer inspected the restaurant on Thursday morning and was informed by staff that the business had voluntarily shut down.

It also issued a prohibition order on the business, which will be permitted to re-open "following a satisfactory inspection."

The Din Tai Fung video appeared just days after an Oporto restaurant in Sydney voluntarily closed after a social media video showed multiple rats scurrying around inside.

While the City of Sydney spokesman said it is the responsibility of businesses and shopping centre management to ensure they are free of vermin, he also pointed to the "unprecedented number of major demolition and construction works" occurring throughout the CBD for "stirring up rat populations and leading to increased rat movements."

Despite the city's "comprehensive pest control program", rats are somewhat a fact of life in inner Sydney.

"Unfortunately, rat activity can’t be completely eradicated and there will always be some public areas that require further baiting, particularly where food and waste are discarded by the public."

Westfield Sydney has been approached for comment.

Jenny Noyes is a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a writer and editor at Daily Life.

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