The incident occurred Thursday at Buttercup Bakery at Lexington Market in Baltimore, Maryland. In the video uploaded to Facebook Thursday by Milton Mitchell, which has been viewed more than 830,000 times, a rat crawls onto a pile of cookies as an onlooker yells, "Just grab him by the neck!"
Lexington Market is a popular tourist spot in Baltimore, featuring more than 80 food stands inside what is described on the market's website as an "iconic building."
Mitchell had stopped by Buttercup Bakery on Thursday to buy cookies for his wife when he noticed the rat crawling over the desserts in the display case. He quickly pulled out his phone and recorded the incident.
"I never thought it would get this big, but I'm glad it did," Mitchell told the Baltimore Sun about the popularity of his video on Saturday, adding that he wanted to "let the public know what kind of situation Lexington Market is in."
On Friday, Lexington Market announced on its Facebook page that the entire market would be closing down that day "so that all parts of the market can easily be evaluated after our recent incident."
During their inspection, city health officials shut down another nearby bakery in the market — Berger's Bakery — for a fly infestation.
Later that day, the market announced that it would reopen July 14.
"Both the Buttercup and Berger's bakeries will be open for business as usual as well. We are continuing to thoroughly treat every area of our premises; and the problem has been contained and resolved. We thank our merchants, staff and contractors for working together as a team during the voluntary temporary closure today. We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers and look forward to continuing to serve as a resource for the community and for visitors to Baltimore," the statement added.
According to Buttercup Bakery general manager Mike Mastro, the staff worked until 11 p.m. Thursday cleaning the stall with bleach after the incident.
"This is the first time [this happened], and it wasn't even my fault," Mastro told the Baltimore Sun on Sunday.
"We just want our customers to know that we're doing everything that we can. Unfortunately it happened to us. It could have been any stall, but it's no excuse. It happened," employee Crystal Adolph told WBAL Friday.
Stacey Pack, a spokesperson for Lexington Market, also told the Baltimore Sun that the entire property and individual stalls at the market are treated by a pest control contractor at least twice a week.
"We follow all the same rules that everyone else has to follow in Baltimore City," Pack said.