A SUPERMARKET was ordered to take urgent action after a rodent infestation broke out on the shop floor.

Sainsbury's in Ringwood was inspected by council environmental health officers following a complaint of rodent activity within the store.

The inspectors from New Forest District Council found evidence of food that had been gnawed by rats.

It also found that the infestation was mainly in the areas where the counters offering delicatessen, pizza and fish are located.

The issues identified at the store in Meeting House Lane led to it being given a one out of five food hygiene rating.

Major improvement was deemed necessary in the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building area, while improvement was also needed for hygienic food handling.

A report issued by the council dated in October, which was only made publicly available this month, highlighted a number of findings following an inspection to the store.

Officer Owen McGrath's report said: "Internal rodent infestation on the shop floor but mainly in the deli/ pizza/ fish counters.

"There two occasions where food was gnawed by rats."

Detailing the situation to date, Ben Stockley, New Forest District Council's environmental health food and safety team manager, said: "We visited Sainsbury's Ringwood in August 2019 following a complaint of rodent activity within the store.

"We worked closely with them to advise on and monitor their response to ensure that the pest issue was resolved.

"Regular checks were carried out to confirm that the company had good food safety procedures in place and that the in-store cleaning and disinfection processes were sufficient to protect the public from any health risks.

"The store was allowed to continue to trade after they implemented additional food safety controls, which have been continually reviewed by our team and Sainsbury’s.

"The food hygiene rating score given to the business is in recognition of the issues found at the time of the visits."

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “We can reassure customers that we have taken a number of steps to ensure the issues which were raised have been addressed and that the store meets the high standards our customers rightly expect.”

The store can apply for a re-inspection to obtain an improved food hygiene inspection once the issues outlined by the council have been addressed.