Burger King bolstering food safety after failed inspections

 A week after Washington State health types made Burger King Corp. aware of a problem with its burger cooking process, the company says that it’s inspecting its systems on the West Coast to determine what changes need to be made.

Most of the undercooking was due to problems with a flame broiler and employees failing to discard undercooked patties.

Susan Shelton, environmental health specialist for the Benton Franklin Health District, said the problem in a nutshell was one of being unfamiliar with the new technology.

"It wasn’t cooking to temperature because there were a lot of controls. When we started working with them, it was resolved."

The health district received no complaints about undercooked food or illnesses, and no lab samples were positive for bacteria or other illness-causing contaminants, she added.

Burger King serves undercooked meat?

MYNorthwest.com reports improper cooking techniques have resulted in ‘dangerously undercooked’ hamburger patties being served at Burger King restaurants across Washington State, and health officials are concerned the problem could be happening in franchises nationwide.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department first reported the problem on July 29 after a routine health inspection resulted in a ‘potentially hazardous’ violation at a Burger King in Puyallup. The inspector expressed concern to her supervisors that the undercooked meat was due to a glitch with equipment, and the incident might not be isolated.

"So we went ahead and proactively inspected all 13 of their outlets in Pierce County," said Dr. Anthony Chen, Director of Health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The inspector was right; roughly half of Pierce County locations were serving undercooked meat.

"We spoke to the Department of Health and turned it over to them," Chen said.
After discovering similar violations across at least 10 counties statewide, the State Health Department sent Burger King a letter on September 1, with their findings.

Among the potential dangers detailed in the letter was a concern with the "Duke Flamebroiler," the piece of equipment that is meant to give Burger King hamburgers their signature flame broil. Products coming off the broiler were sometimes undercooked as "broken ceramic tiles" inside the units reduced the cook temperatures and allowed insulation to fall onto the food.

There were also several concerns with employee error. For instance, employees "did not know how to take final cook temperatures of burgers." Some workers "did not know that undercooked patties should be discarded," and believed a brief microwave step would "remedy" any issues with undercooking.

What the story doesn’t say is how to properly temp a burger and whether thermometers were even present?

Denise Wilson, Global Communications Manager for Burger King, wrote in an email to KIRO Radio that, "Burger King Corp. has recently been made aware of the findings from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and is investigating the matter to determine if all proper cooking protocols were followed. Additionally, BKC has been in contact with the local franchisees and they are taking immediate corrective measures to ensure that their restaurants are meeting the company’s stringent food safety standards."

The State will be following up.

Burger King employee diagnosed with hepatitis A

There’s been a few cases of hepatitis A showing up in the Ashland, Kentucky area over the past few days.

Today, investigators think they’ve indentified the source: a food service worker at Burger King who had to not only test positive, but have poop on his hands to transmit the virus.

WSAZ reports the Ashland-Boyd County Health Department has confirmed the employee worked the drive-thru window during the week of November 7 and the dates of November 15 and 17. The employee’s contact with patrons was limited to the drive-thru window, so patrons who ate inside the restaurant were not at risk of exposure. Since the employee was not involved in food preparation, the risk of becoming ill is low.

The employee was a close contact of a previously identified case of Hepatitis A.

So far all of the cases in Boyd County are linked to close contacts of earlier cases. No cases associated only with consuming food items from the restaurant have been identified as of Tuesday, November 23.
 

Burger King chicken tenders removed from menu, failure to meet safety specs

Burger King’s crown shaped chicken tenders were pulled from many of its restaurants nationwide after the fast food giant decided the quality of the product was too poor to serve.

The company was quoted as saying,

"Food safety at Burger King restaurants is non-negotiable. (Burger King) was notified by one of its suppliers that the chicken tenders product produced between May 10-20, 2010 may not meet the company’s stringent food safety specifications."

No customers have been sickened.
 

Burger King employee thinks management doesn’t check Facebook

I try to tell my four daughters – five counting Sorenne but at 15-months-old she’s not on Facebook yet — don’t put everything on Facebook, someone may actually read it.

They ignore me, which is the bane of every parent, but I can at least blog about it and then be able to say, it’s all fun and games until someone reads your Facebook page.

A Burger King employee in the Detroit metro area likely regrets making his Facebook messages public after recently warning everyone to stay away from the store he works at because "we spit in your food for sh*ts and giggles."

"I’m guessing it’s cause he was really stressed out, having a bad day at work," said Nick Klingensmith, who works alongside his 21-year-old brother at Burger King.

He said his brother was just joking.

"I think he’s more scared, he’s worried about what’s going to happen to him, he don’t wanna lose his job," Klingensmith said.

Customer Carolyn Stevens said,

"Even if he’s joking around if I’m eating something that someone spit in, even if they’re joking, I don’t want to take that chance."

Food on pins and needles

Some punk in Calgary may be running around with, as the Edmonton Sun says, “a box of pins and a brain half as sharp” after the Calgary Co-op brought in police for the second time in a month over what appears to be food tampering.

Oscar Chaves of New Bedford, Mass., claims he ended up in hospital after allegedly biting into a metal needle in the middle of his Burger King Double Whopper.

Food service and retail is a tough business, one that is prone to fraud, allegations and errors.

The man with the Whopper called Burger King to ask them to pick up the more than $15,000 in medical bills that he accrued. He says someone told him that they’d get back to him in two days. That was more than a year ago, and he’s still waiting.

In mid-Jan., the Co-op found sewing needles, pins and buttons found in juice bottles, cheese and bread. This time, it’s a tub of margarine with a pin-sized hole pierced straight through the lid, plastic safety film and deep into the food inside.

Rigorous food safety programs, verification and even video documentation can help anyone in the farm-to-fork food safety system improve their operations and defend against malicious attacks.
 

Burger King outs baby for ‘no shoes’ rule

No shirt, no shoes, no service, baby!

According to KSHB-TV, the manager of a Burger King near St. Louis, Missouri, told Jennifer Frederich she would have to get her food to go because her daughter, Kaylin, wasn’t wearing any shoes. 

"She doesn’t own shoes. She’s only six months old,” said Frederich after the manager explained that feet without shoes were against the health code, and, no, socks would not suffice. 

“She doesn’t walk, so she’s not touching the ground," Frederich continued, "There is no reason for her to have shoes on.”

While the manager’s apparent commitment to the health code was admirable, the misplaced emphasis suggests it was not a product of a culture of food safety.

"In fact," the Associated Press later reported, "shoelessness is not a health code violation in St. Louis County."

A statement by Burger King, cited by the AP, says the owner of that particular franchise "apologizes for this guest’s experience…The franchisee is retraining his restaurant team on the proper use of the ‘no shoes’ policy."

The franchise owner also contacted Frederich to apologize in person.

No baby shoes, no service at Burger King

Sorenne turns 8-months-old tomorrow. Being in Florida, Amy bought her some flip-flops. But that’s about it for shoes.

However, a Burger King manager took the no shirt, no shoes, no service policy to some extremes and threatened to call police on a mom because her 6-month-old baby wasn’t wearing shoes in the restaurant.

Seriously, who would want to put a six month old on the floor of a Burger King?

The video below explains:

Man dialed 911 when lemonade ran out

Have Americans become so self-absorbed they have to call 911 when food is not to their liking?

First it was a dude in Jacksonville, FL, who called 911 because he didn’t like the way his Subway sandwich was prepared. He could have just called Jared.

Last year, someone called 911 because she couldn’t get a cheeseburger.

On Friday, a man in Boynton Beach, FL, was arrested and charged with abuse of 911 communication after calling to complain that a local Burger King in did not have any lemonade.

If I was going to call 911 on Burger King it’d be related to that mascot that looks like a creepy Thunderbirds-clone
 

Burger King: Paper towels in the bathroom please

I have been working for Doug for almost 4 months now. I am happy to say that I have learned a lot.

One of these things is proper hand-washing. So every time I go to a public restroom I keep my eyes open and watch every detail.

I often notice when someone skips the hand-washing step or someone who doesn’t dry up afterwards.

Just the other day I went during my lunch break to Burger King to grab a double cheeseburger. I went to the restroom first, and when I was in one of the stalls, a woman came in with her kid, telling him to scrub his hands. I heard water running. Then they just left – but I didn’t hear any paper tearing.

Well, there wasn’t any. No, BK didn’t just run out of paper. They didn’t have a paper towel dispenser at all. Only a drier. And a very lousy one. The evidence:

BK employees should not only wash their hands, but dry them as well.

Frustrated I left, and hesitated: Can I still eat my burger, knowing that employees (or at least the women) don’t dry their hands properly in that establishment?

No more BK cheeseburgers for me. Doug wrote in a letter:

Blow dryers should not be used because they accumulate microorganisms from toilet aerosols, and can cause contamination of hands as they are dried by the drier (Knights, et al., 1993; Redway,et al., 1994).

Every bathroom should have running water, soap and paper towel.

Check out this other BK incidence: Restaurant sinks are not bathtubs