Former Philly McDonald Employee’s video shows mice in a bun bag – but was it served?

I’ve only ever seen a mouse at a restaurant once. I was visiting Halifax (that’s in Canada) and had dinner at a popular downtown eatery, Alfredo, Weinstien and Ho’s (the ultimate Italian-Deli-Asian food experience – which has apparently closed). For about 10 minutes we saw a mouse dart in and out of view grabbing food from the floor. After flagging our server down and alerting him to the mouse, he and the manager discretely moved some furniture and the mouse fled the room. The manager came over, thanked us for not making a scene and comped all of our meals (but said we had to pay for our bar tab); not a bad deal.

While mice infestations and droppings elicit a yuck-factor response from TV personalities and guests, I’d prefer to know about how well the staff manages the recognized foodborne illness risk factors: improper cooking temps; improper storage/holding temps; handwashing and hygiene; cross-contamination and safe sources.

In an excellently-titled post, I’m Ralphin’ It of the Day, The Daily What has a video of a mouse problem at a Philly McDonald’s. The video, taken by former employee Karruim Demaio shows a mouse running through a Big Mac bun bag. Pests (rodent and insect) are often a problem for food businesses. Warm, dark places with lots of food is a good spot for a mouse or flies to live. It’s not surprising that there are mice in a storage room.

What is surprising is that Demaio says a manager told him to brush droppings off of the buns and serve them. He says the same manager was seen wiping off pest droppings in the past.

Who knows whether the brush-and-serve actually happened – but that’s where the risk discussion lies. It’s not really a problem until the food makes it to a patron. Identifying a pest problem and dealing with it (which might have happened) happens in a business with a good food safety culture; brush-and-serve doesn’t. All the video shows is that a mouse was there.

Video Shows Mouse In Bag Of Big Mac Rolls:

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.