Stench, excrement, decomposed animals, near Tours, a rat-infested supermarket

Employees at the Leclerc plant in Chambray-lès-Tours warn on Monday, July 25: they claim to have worked since the autumn in a warehouse infested with rats and did not have time to check all the products sold. The management of the store minimizes and wants to be reassuring.

Stink“, excrement, decomposed bodies, dirty shelves: the Leclerc drive in Chambray-lès-Tours faces a presence of rats since at least autumn according to several employees testifying, this Monday, July 25, with France Bleu Touraine. Measures are taken and the rodents have almost disappeared, replies the management.

The situation began to be catastrophic in October – Mélodie, former employee of Leclerc Drive

“There is excrement, products eaten by rats, dripping on the shelves, the stench of piss and even sometimes of decomposition, as there are rats dying under the pallets.”claims Léa*, an employee of the company, who has again noticed the presence of rats in the 2,000 m2 warehouse in recent days. “For several months the situation has been going on and it is very difficult to work there.”

Rat droppings are found daily by the employees.

“There is no possible debate, every day there was damage from rats, especially on the flour, says Mélodie, former employee of the drive. And the feces, the piss on the shelves, it was all the time.” According to her, the situation began to deteriorate sharply from October.

Rodents attack several types of food. “They eat everything”assures Marc*. “Glass jars and cans, they don’t attack it, but everything else, yesperform the Mélodie before notating: pasta, rice, flour, pineapple juice, soup, pepsi, milk, croquettes, cat food…

A “specialized company” intervenes

The Leclerc management assures France Bleu Touraine that they have taken matters into their own hands. According to her, rats were discovered at the end of January, and since “specialized company” – which was already operating under an annual contract – has increased the frequency of its services. “isolation arrangements” was realized. The interventions of “pest control community“and the arrangements made it possible to”reduce the presence of rodents, which have almost disappeared”, even goes forward in the direction.

The measures taken – mainly the laying of traps – were largely insufficient, insist Léa*, Marc* and Mélodie. Currently, new works are being completed. “They broke the walls and they are rebuilding them in three different areas”confirms Lea.

A wall is being built in the warehouse.
A wall is being built in the warehouse.

However, employees are quite pessimistic about the effectiveness of this last measure. “It’s very good to redo the walls, but the rats are in the ceiling, they make their nest in the insulationbreathe Melody. I think the right solution is to completely drain the drive, shut it down for several days, to clean everything from top to bottom.”

Staying in a company that does nothing and where I sell products that are dirty was not possible – Mélodie, former employee of Leclerc drive

After three years spent at the Leclerc drive in Chambray-lès-Tours, Mélodie claims to have resigned and left the company two weeks ago due to the presence of rodents at his workplace. “The air was unbearable, it was no longer possibleshe lets go for me and then in principle for the customers. I might be the only one who said I left for this, but there were other resignations.”

The employees interviewed assure that they try to check all the food before serving it to the customers, but that some can slip through. “We try to be careful so when it’s eaten we’re not going to put them in the bags, but hey, when we go fast, if the thing is just dirty, it ends up in the bag and off you go, Melody confides. Honestly, when it’s a big rush day like Friday or Saturday, you don’t look at all the items you take, you don’t have time.”

Employees say that they come into daily contact with rat excrement.
Employees say that they come into daily contact with rat excrement.

Everything is done to guarantee the safety and quality of our products – The management of the Leclerc drive

The employees of the drive pay particular attention to the control of the products offered to customers”, want to reassure the management of the store. “Everything is done to guarantee the safety and quality of our products.“Leclerc does not confirm that among the products served to customers on Chambray-lès-Tours Drive since January, none has been soiled or attacked by rats.

No employee is appointed to check the cleanliness of the products, according to Mélodie. “It would take far too long, she hammers. We already barely have time to clean the shelves when they are disgusting, so check every product…” Signs, signed by management, invite employees to check the products before giving them to customers.

Management sent out messages inviting employees to check out the products.
Management sent out messages inviting employees to check out the products.

To think that they are waiting for a sick or a dead person, a drama to reactsaid Lea, annoyed. The scandals that were with Buitoniit is because of this kind of thing that one has to be very careful“. The drive processes between 500 and 900 orders per day.

Reports from August 2021 and two spot checks

Mélodie and Léa* claim to have done everything to raise the alarm. “We contacted occupational medicine, the labor inspectorate, the town hall, the trade unions, the suppression of fraud, the departmental directorate for population protection (DDPP)”, according to the latter. DDPP 37, which had already received reports, conducted an unannounced inspection in August. No traces of rodents were found. The situation had been “quickly mastered” this month confirms the direction of travel.

After further reports, an inspector visited the site again in April, but still no sign of rats according to the department in the prefecture. “I was there when it passed and there was visible damage but no rats as it was early afternoon and they mostly appear in the morning and evening.” Melody responds.

It is recommended to use gloves

Employees describe daily proximity to rats or their faeces and there have sometimes been contacts according to Melody, “many have passed over our feet“, but no bite. The company gives them gloves to protect themselves.

When an activityposes a risk of regular contact with rodent urine or a rodent-infested environment“, the Ministry of Health recommends to prevent contracting leptospirosis, using gloves or other personal protective equipment if necessary.

*Names have been changed.

Note: the photos and videos in the video were mostly taken between April and June 2022.

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