Everyone’s got a camera: Mice run around Melbourne McDonald’s edition

Sophie Smith of the Herald Sun reports two videos showing rodents flitting freely around a busy McDonald’s restaurant in Melbourne’s inner-north have emerged.

mice1A disgusted customer, Firoozeh, claims she and friends saw several mice around a McCafe service area of the Collingwood restaurant at midnight on Boxing Day.

Footage uploaded to social media appears to show at least two vermin scampering along the floor between a service counter and a back bench with sink. Another shows one ducking in and out near a stool.

In another video, uploaded to Facebook by Todd Gilbey on December 2, mice scatter along the floor — and one even grabs a chip.

Firoozeh said there were “lots” of mice.

“It wasn’t like three or four mice,” Firoozeh said.

“We watched them for a while; they were coming in and out.

“There were so many and the guy was just coming and scaring them and telling us that, ‘You cannot take video’, because I asked to see the duty manager.”

Firoozeh, who asked the Herald Sun not to publish her surname, said the duty manager at the 24-hour eatery on the corner of Smith St and Victoria Parade became angered when she and her friends raised their concerns.

“He was aggressively stopping me from taking pictures and photos,” she said.

“I’ve never seen such a dirty McDonald’s.

“No-one is cleaning it and it’s supposed to be open for 24 hours. What’s going on?

“I don’t think it’s healthy at all. They were running around and no-one was doing anything.

“Children eat food there.”

McDonald’s tries fresh beef ‘An E. coli outbreak waiting to happen’

In 1982, E. coli O157:H7, was found to be responsible for outbreaks of human illness in Oregon and Michigan after customers at McDonald’s outlets ate contaminated hamburgers, the first outbreaks linked to Shiga-toxin producing E. coli.

mclovin1-300x140McDonald’s changed the way it cooked burgers to largely eliminate the human element and instituted E. coli O157 testing of its suppliers and demanded continuous improvement.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, or so the saying goes.

Robert Galbraith of Reuters reports that McDonald’s has been testing fresh, never-frozen beef patties at restaurants in Dallas.

Wall Street analysts have applauded the change, but some McDonald’s franchisees say it’s a food-safety disaster waiting to happen.

In a recent survey by Nomura, two dozen franchisees warned that introducing fresh beef patties nationwide would slow down service and expose the chain to new food contamination risks.

“I have major concerns over food safety and our lack of ability to serve a large number of customers quickly,” one franchisee wrote.

Another wrote, “If we do not handle the meat perfectly there is the opportunity for bacterial invasion of our product.”

One operator brought up the E. coli outbreak that affected 14 Chipotle restaurants across the country last fall, sending the chain’s sales plunging by as much as 30%.

“An uncaring employee [could end up] doing something that puts the entire system at risk,” the franchisee wrote. “We are the lightning rod. Chipotle will be a walk in the park if we have an incident.”

McDonald’s has long relied on an extensive network of suppliers who make, freeze, and ship beef patties to its more than 14,000 restaurants in the US.

mcdonalds-600x800Expanding the fresh beef test — which is currently limited to 14 restaurants in Dallas — would require big changes to its supply chain. The potential for foodborne illnesses is higher when uncooked meat is kept at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the USDA.

At the restaurant level, it would be a “massive learning curve for our managers and crew,” one franchisee wrote. “No doubt the biggest change in McDonald’s history. Would be a huge distraction from our ‘turnaround.'”

In the same survey, many McDonald’s franchisees also acknowledged that fresh beef would help improve the fast-food chain’s public image.

“Faster cook times, juicier product, seared product versus stewed meat,” one franchisee wrote.

Another said, “Many customers perceive unfrozen to be better for you. Perception is everything.”

Twenty-seven domestic franchisees with approximately 199 stores participated in the Nomura survey, representing a small fraction of McDonald’s 14,000 stores in the US. 

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook said last month that there isn’t currently a large enough supply of fresh beef to expand the test nationally but that the company could start expanding it gradually region by region.

 Easterbrook said a larger rollout wouldn’t require any major new equipment or expenses for franchisees.

The company just has a few small issues to work out through the test, such as finding the best system for storage and handling of the beef to avoid any cross-contamination of the fresh, uncooked meat with other food items.

“We are trying to figure out the best way to segregate equipment like spatulas and scrapers for the grill,” he said.

New York confirm 5 cases of Hepatitis A linked to pizza joint and McDonald’s

Five known cases of Hepatitis A have surfaced in Seneca County, where health officials have diagnosed two food service workers with the illness in recent weeks.

mark's.pizzariaHealth department leaders say food service workers at a McDonald’s and a Mark’s Pizzeria in Waterloo were both diagnosed with Hepatitis A, and county-run vaccination clinics were held for people who may have eaten at the restaurants.

The last of those clinics is being held Thursday

Patron finds maggot in a Dublin McDonalds fry; told it’s common by cashier

When I was about 7 I poured a bowl of cereal, added milk and started to chow down. I freaked out when I chewed something that wasn’t a Honey Nut Cheerio; I looked down and saw three maggots in the bowl.

I didn’t eat cereal for a few months after the incident.

According to the Sun, a Dublin McDonald’s patron, Anna Potterton, found a maggot in a fry.

The revolted customer said she bought the Happy Meal from the McDonald’s branch on Grafton Street in Dublin.

She said: “One of the chips looked like it had a burnt spot in the middle, but when I looked closer I realised it was some sort of worm or maggot.”

m_2521234aShockingly Anna goes on to suggest this seems to be a regular problem at the fast food chain, as when she asked for a refund – which was given without any questions – the cashier said: “Sorry about that, it happens very, very often.”

A spokesperson from the fast food chain said: “McDonald’s Ireland has been contacted by a customer regarding an apparent potato defect in a serving of fries in our Grafton Street Restaurant. The matter is now being looked into. McDonald’s Ireland sources real, whole potato fries from our longstanding supplier McCain’s in the UK.

Take your sheep to McDonald’s?

Police stopped a driver in northern England this week who had a large sheep tucked in the back of his small Peugeot 206, and police were concerned it might constitute an “insecure load.”

sheep.carThe man said the sheep was from his farm and that he just wanted to take it out with him while he grabbed a burger at McDonald’s. “Some people take their dogs in their cars, I take my sheep,” he reportedly told the officers who pulled him over.

“He seemed fine to be honest — although he obviously felt a little sheepish when we pointed out the two bald tires,” Chris Marlow, one of the officers, told the Echo, earning a round of applause from pun lovers everywhere.

Global brands stretched by India’s food safety record

At a McDonald’s plant outside Mumbai, 200 workers walk through air dryers and disinfectant pools, then get to work making the day’s 25,000 patties from chicken painstakingly sourced in a country with one of the world’s worst food safety records.

mcdonald's.india.food.safeTo safeguard its multibillion-dollar brand, McDonald’s says more than 100 checks it applies across its international operations are then carried out after that.

India’s tainted water, patchy cold storage network and a retail sector made up of tiny local grocers present a major risk for international food brands, whose reputation can suffer globally from one local slip.

This can mean educating hundreds of small, often illiterate, farmers – critical in a fragmented farming sector that in some cases still uses “night soil”, or human faeces, for composting.

“There are thousands of farmers you need to reach out to, each with maybe an acre, two acres of land,” said Vikram Ogale, who looks after the supply chain and quality assurance for McDonald’s India.

Swiss food group Nestle is currently battling India’s biggest food scare in a decade and an unprecedented branding crisis in the country, after regulators reported some packets of its noodles contained excess lead, a finding the company disputes.

Its woes have laid bare the risks of operating in a country where it is difficult to build a watertight supply chain, and where state food safety infrastructure is minimal, at best.

Nestle uses external audit firms to check suppliers.

Wal-Mart, which operates as a wholesaler in India, says its checks mean rejecting 10-11 percent of produce daily.

Nestle is now pushing ahead with India’s first ever national recall, pulling some 27,400 tonnes of its popular Maggi noodles off India’s shelves, a process that will take at least 40 days.

 

Clean hair policy: But don’t shave over a McMuffin

One of McDonald’s UK guests who bought McMuffin for breakfast was left dismayed after finding beard trimmings on her meal.

McMuffinThis made April Gilmour, a 24-year-old from Kilmarnock, felt nauseous as she discovers short, dark hairs littered in the sandwich which includes the egg and sausage. She had been astonish to discover it after ingesting already half of her breakfast snack down

On her disappointments, the mum-of-two spontaneously announced the grubby treat on social media.

The beautician then wrote on Facebook: “This was my sausage and egg McMuffin from McDonald’s in Kilmarnock this morning. I had eaten half of it and opened it up to put more sauce on and noticed it was full of hair shavings. Disgusting!

“The manager told me they will operate a clean shave policy – well clearly some wee rage has shaved all over their uniform and it’s falling into my breakfast.”

“It’s obviously an accident but I can still feel the sick in my stomach thinking about it.”

The spokesman of McDonald’s said: “Food safety is our highest priority and both our restaurants and our suppliers place enormous prominence on food hygiene and following accurate standards in order to evade imperfections in our foodstuffs.

“We have launched an investigation following the reporting of this incident.”

‘Disgusting’ says Schaffner: Philly McDonald’s leaks sewage, continues to operate for 4 days

As the stench of backed-up sewage permeated the restaurant, a West Philadelphia McDonald’s continued selling Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and fries over four days last fall, installing porta-potties in the parking lot but never notifying the city, which would have ordered a closure.

mcdonald'sA complaint led the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to dispatch an inspector to the franchise at 52d Street and Columbia Avenue on Sept. 15. She found ruptured plumbing in both restrooms and “smelled sewage throughout the facility.”

“The Person in Charge failed to notify the Department of an imminent health hazard and cease operations. Establishment has been operating with raw sewage backup for at least 4 days,” La’Sandra Malone-Mesfin wrote in her report. She listed 24 violations, four of which were related to the plumbing.

There is no evidence that any customers or employees got sick, although most cases of foodborne illness go unreported nationwide.

Raw sewage in a restaurant is “a very high-risk situation,” said Caroline Johnson, disease-control director for the city health department, who was talking generally.

“By design, a sewage line removes the nastiest, filthiest things from a food establishment,” said Janice Buchanon, an official at Steritech, a national brand-protection company that specializes in food safety. A common component, she said, would be E. coli O157, which can cause serious illness and lead to kidney failure in children.

“That the restaurant would continue to operate for even one day is beyond belief,” she said.

Four days after the restaurant was closed, a follow-up inspection by the city found that the plumbing was working, and management was given the go-ahead to reopen.

The city took no further action.

“We do not impose fines or penalties, and we do not have the authority to do so,” said Jeff Moran, spokesman for the city health department.

“Most health departments use closure of a facility as the most punitive action they can take,” said Buchanon, the Steritech official, who formerly worked as a restaurant inspector in various cities. The restaurants “lose face, have to explain to all the customers why they were closed, and lose revenue for a number of days.”

But she and others expressed surprise that the city had to find out about the sewage leak from a complaint.

“I don’t understand why the management didn’t immediately shut down the restaurant,” said Don Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council. “Not only is it disgusting, it’s a real risk. You can’t operate with nonfunctioning sewage lines.”

Most fast-food places do well with food safety in Philadelphia

Friend of the barfblog and beard aficionado Don Schaffner told Philly.com that, “In terms of fast food, there’s not much they can do to screw it up.”

Don-Schaffner-214x300Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council said the complex processes that can trip up exotic places that make everything from scratch, for example, are missing from these eateries, which is part of how they produce food fast, adding, “Those restaurants do a pretty good job of engineering out the risk factors. I’d be more leery going to a fancy white-tablecloth place than a fast-food restaurant.”

Partly, food-safety experts say, that is because big, publicly traded corporations – from McDonald’s to ConAgra – are well aware of the damage a food-poisoning scandal can do to their brands, and they put a priority on preventing it.

Inspectors from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health attempt to visit every restaurant once a year. Inspections are a snapshot in time, with limited ability to prevent foodborne illness. Much of the job involves educating food workers, which health officials say is more effective than policing or stiff fines.

schaffner.facebook.apr.14Establishments with problem histories also are visited more often, however; the city says a single violation for a food-borne illness risk factor usually calls for a repeat inspection.

Find inspection reports for all McDonald’s and Burger Kings, and any other city restaurants:

www.philly.com/CleanPlatesEndText

Couple kicked out of Wisconsin McDonald’s for bringing in kangaroo

On Friday, Diana and Larry Moyer brought one of their five pet kangaroos to a McDonald’s in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, prompting a customer to call the police, reports WISN.

kangaroo-800“He’s just a little guy, but you can touch him and pet him,” Larry says of Jimmy the kangaroo.

The couple often brings the smaller marsupial with them on errands to keep Diana, who is battling cancer, company. Jimmy isn’t a licensed service animal, but the kangaroo is a therapy pet.

The Moyers – who’ve owned kangaroos for five years – say the animals often turn heads in public, but rarely do they cause problems, so the couple was shocked when a customer at McDonald’s felt the need to call the police and complain.

Since kangaroos are not protected by disability laws, the Moyers and Jimmy were asked to leave by the restaurant. The group left without incident at the same time authorities arrived at the scene.