Keeping theaters rodent free and healthy for customers

Keeping theaters rodent free and healthy for customers

Nearly 3 years ago, we introduced you to a woman who claims to have found more than butter in her popcorn while watching a movie at a popular Huntsville theater.

She says there was a mouse inside the bag.

We wanted to know if this had happened again and could it happen at your favorite cinema complex?

WAFF-48 Restaurant Scorecard Investigator Elizabeth Gentle tells us what one Valley movie house is doing to keep your night out from turning into a horror story.

The movies are a popular entertainment hangout, and a good excuse to stay indoors and enjoy a flick with the family.

But what if your favorite cinema was called on the carpet by one of its customers?

That's what happened 3 years ago when a woman made this claim about Carmike Cinema in Huntsville to our camera.

"There were mice inside the bag of popcorn."

Nancy Bradford told Carmike Managers what she allegedly found  and then reported it to health inspectors, who made a clean sweep through the complex -- finding, according to their report -- mice droppings in the storage room.

Pest control was called in on the spot to exterminate.

And the problem was handled . No further similar incidents have been reported at the Carmike since.

But can problems like this one be avoided?

What can theaters do to keep this from ever happening to them?

The Scorecard team went looking for answers with the staff at the newly opened Monaco Pictures to find out how seriously they take cleanliness, customer health,

And what steps they are taking to keep rodents and other health and safety issues at bay.

'We look at quality and food safety," says General Manager David Bier.

Monaco Pictures opened its doors in November.

It's a first rate facility, but the concerns over health issues are the same for them as any food service facility. They took our camera behind the scenes to see what safety measures they make mandatory.

"We get a lot of volume in the theater. It's our responsibility to offer a quality product and a safe product," says Bier.

There is a full scale restaurant on the bottom level and a concession stand nearby. Both must meet certain health code criteria.

"The guidelines are the same whether you serve pop corn, hot dogs or sushi," says Bier.

Proper food handling isn't the only concern. Insect and rodent prevention are too.

That means keeping everything clean...not just the kitchen and concession area but the theatres too -- something not often inspected.

"That's not something the health department checks. They don't look at what do your floors look like. From a service stand point, general facility, those have to be kept clean," says Bier.

The health department makes sure restaurants and theaters follow guidelines especially in food handling areas to the letter.

The Monaco and The Scene Lounge both underwent rigorous pre-opening inspections.

Theaters are checked by health officials on an annual basis. We checked with Madison County. They would not tell us if any of the theaters have had complaints filed. Only that all have scored at or above inspectors required score of 85. Here's how theaters where you*live stack up with inspectors

Regal Cinema at Madison Square in Huntsville scored 94 ;

Regals Hollywood 18 Cinemas on South Memorial Parkway scored 94;

Carmike 10 on Old Monrovia Road in Huntsville scored 88;

Boaz 9 Cinemas in Marshall County scored 89;

River Oaks Cinema 8 in Decatur scored 96;

The Monaco was given a pre-inspection before opening.

Health inspectors will be back next month to give them an official health score.