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Vancouver restaurant owner at centre of soup controversy says he smells a rat

WATCH: DISTURBING CONTENT: Vancouver restaurant owner says rat in soup video was a hoax

The owner of Gastown’s Crab Park Chowdery says he has conducted a full investigation into the ongoing mystery of how a rodent ended up in a bowl of his restaurant’s soup, and he says he smells a rat.

Last week, a video was posted to Instagram appearing to show a rodent served in a bowl of the Chowdery’s soup.

READ MORE: Vancouver Coastal Health looking into video of rat allegedly found in bowl of chowder at restaurant

Owner Ashton Phillips says he and his staff performed several tests with a rat-sized object to see if they could have somehow missed it. They said there was no way they could miss an object of that size, adding that it did not fit in the ladle or the bread bowl used to serve the soup.

Phillips says he has no disgruntled employees and all his staff members have been with him for at least two years.

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WATCH: Ashton Phillips, owner of Crab Park Chowdery walk us through the process they use to get the soup from the fridge to the pot to the bowl. Can a rat make it in? You be the judge.

How NOT to serve rat in a bread bowl of chowder
How NOT to serve rat in a bread bowl of chowder

He said he is 100 per cent confident the rodent could not have come from his establishment.

Phillips says the incident is looking more like a prank and is inviting everyone to come down and tour his eatery.

He also notes that Vancouver Coastal Health investigated the incident and did not close down the restaurant.

READ MORE: ‘A good possibility’ rat in soup video is authentic, says forensic video expert

Over the weekend, a forensic video expert told Global News there is no sign the video posted to social media has been altered in any way, but because of its short length, it’s more difficult to speak to whether it was staged.

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In a response to Global News, the person behind the Instagram account where the video was posted noted the health authority ordered the closure of a commissary kitchen at Mamie Taylor’s – the Vancouver eatery where the soup was made — after finding signs of a rodent infestation.

“What is the guarantee that the rat could not sneak up on site and end up in the soup?” the user asked.

WATCH: (Aired Dec. 28, 2018) Health inspectors investigate video allegedly showing rat found in soup

Health inspectors investigate video allegedly showing rat found in soup
Health inspectors investigate video allegedly showing rat found in soup

The user said any suggestion that the video was a prank is “ridiculous and disrespectful considering my friends and me are the victims here.”

Phillips said he has suspicions about the Instagram account where the video appeared, saying it had been inactive for more than a year before the post about his restaurant was published last week. He said the viral Instagram post linked to another social media account.

“Why would you use an account that you haven’t posted to in a year and then ask for people to follow you at your other account?” he asked.

“We honestly think that maybe it was just to generate Instagram followers and generate that social media buzz that everybody is so out to get these days.”

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Kyla Lee, a lawyer with Acumen Law says Phillips could have grounds to take the creator of the Instagram video to court for defamation, and that the information he has since collected could help him win.

“The owner in this case does have good grounds to sue because he’s done a thorough investigation about how this incident may have happened and has determined through that investigation that it’s not likely that this did occur, and that instead this was a prank or some kind of stunt for publicity,” Lee said.

“It would be good for him under these circumstances to sue because of the huge amount of damage that’s been done to his reputation, to his business and to his future.”

— With files from Simon Little, Grace Ke and Kristen Robinson