Roach infestation shuts down several Florida Mall food vendors

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Channel 9's Nancy Alvarez learned Tuesday that a roach infestation at the Florida Mall was so bad that some restaurants in the food court had to be shut down so they could be cleaned out.

A total of eight restaurants in the mall's food court were forced to close temporarily last week after an inspection report showed dead and live roaches were discovered.

At Maki of Japan, roaches were found in cabinets and behind the sushi cooler. Several roaches were also found around the sink at Sbarro and when an inspector moved a mop at a Cajun food spot, 20 live roaches scattered, the report said.

“(They) definitely need to clean it up,” said Thomas Smith, who works nearby. “That affects our economy. It affects me, our wages.”

In most cases, the roaches were found behind the scenes in kitchens and storage areas, according to the report. However, there were some areas where roaches were found at the counter.

The mall released the following statement on Tuesday:

“The Florida Mall responded immediately to all requests made by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Mall leasing documents require that all food court tenants take responsibility for maintaining their individual spaces." 

Brian Hanson, the mall's general manager, also said they were pleased food court tenants were able to reopen the day after the roaches were discovered.

Inspectors will be back sometime in the next two weeks for a surprise inspection.

WFTV checked inspection records going back to 2010, and it’s the first time the Florida Mall has been crawling with anything besides tourists and local shoppers