‘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:


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.

McLovin (not): McDonald’s customer finds human teeth in her food in Japan

A customer who bought a Big Mac meal in Japan was shocked to discover a human tooth in the fries – in the latest food safety scandal that has led to plummeting sales in the country this year. 

mclovinJapanese officials apologized to the customer for the incident, which occurred in August last year, and said none of the employees at the branch in question had lost a tooth.

They added there were no signs the tooth had been fried – and said they are investigating how it came to be in the fries.

Senior executive Takehiko Aoki said: ‘To make such cases zero is our goal. We are doing our utmost to tackle them, one by one.’

He added: ‘I will eat McNuggets. I will feed McNuggets to my children. I have no doubts.’

McDonald’s is extremely popular in Japan with more than 3,000 restaurants. 

But a series of recent scares, including customers finding fillings and plastic in chicken nuggets, has led to the company reporting its first annual operating loss in Japan.

Sales for January fell by a record 39%, and over the course of 2014, losses totaled 6.7billion yen – or $57 million. This is compared with an operating profit of 11.5billion yen a year earlier.

Brisbane woman allegedly served raw chicken in ‘healthy choices’ McDonald’s wrap at Deception Bay

With all the Salmonella outbreaks going on in Brisbane (that’s in Australia) a woman claims she was served raw chicken from McDonald‘s at Deception Bay yesterday.

hero_pdt_snack_wrap_crispyPersonal trainer Gizela Tahuri, who had not eaten McDonald’s for two years previously, said the ordeal reminded her why.

“So much for healthy choices,” Ms Tahuri said.

“I bought a spicy mayo crispy chicken wrap.

“I probably had two large mouthfuls before I thought the chicken was really soft and it looked raw.

“I instantly felt like I was going to vomit.”

She discovered the raw meat after taking her chicken wrap home.

A McDonald’s spokesman said:

barfblog.Stick It In“We are disappointed that this has happened. We take food safety very seriously and have strict processes and systems in place.”

An investigation is currently under way with the restaurant, and we encourage the customer to contact us to help us to investigate fully.”

So sorry: plastic pieces found in Japanese McNuggets

McDonald’s Japan is facing yet another food safety scandal after two customers found pieces of plastic in their Chicken McNuggets.

The first discovery, made on Saturday, spurred McDonald’s Japan to pull all 956,925 nuggets made by a Cargill unit in Thailand on the same day, in the same factory.

Chicken-McNuggets-Japan-jpgDespite the preventative action, another customer reported finding plastic inside a chicken nugget on Monday. McDonald’s is investigating, but has not yet said if the two incidents are related.

“We deeply apologize for the trouble we have caused our customers and we are taking quick measures to analyze the cause of the contamination,” said company spokesman Takashi Hasegasa.

The incidents are the latest in a string of food scares that have shaken Japanese consumer confidence in McDonald’s.

Among other incidents, a human tooth was found in a customer’s french fry in August, while a child in December cut his mouth on a piece of plastic that was in a chocolate sundae.

Last July, the company was among several fast food chains to be hit by a scandal involving tainted meat from a Chinese supplier.

Sales at McDonald’s Japan have dropped more than 10 percent every month compared to the same period last year since the food scare hit, even after the company switched to suppliers in Thailand. The company has said it expects to post a net loss for its current fiscal year — the first annual loss in 11 years — as a result.

I have no idea what this means, but McDonald’s enlists orcs and elves to boost food safety in China

McDonald’s Corp. is enlisting the orcs and elves of the World of Warcraft in its fight to win over Chinese consumers scared away by food safety scandals.

mcdonalds.world.warcraftTo entice younger customers, McDonald’s designed Warcraft- themed outlets and gave away virtual items such as magic turtles tied to the popular online role-playing game, its first cooperation in China with a computer game.

The effort comes as the world’s largest restaurant chain seeks to recover from a food scandal in July, when its main supplier in Shanghai was accused of selling expired meat, leading China sales to plunge 23 percent. The crisis embroiled Yum Brands’ KFC and other eateries, forcing the chains to pull items off menus as they rushed to find alternative suppliers.

“I know of McDonald’s supplier issues, but I wanted to try out the latest Warcraft game before its release,” said 21-year- old Li Jialiang, a Warcraft fanatic who endured a 12-hour train ride from central Henan province to visit one of the themed restaurants in Shanghai.

Canadian says McDonald’s coffee contained dead mouse

Ron Morais of Fredericton says he got more than he bargained for when he picked up a cup of coffee from a local McDonald’s restaurant on his way to work.

dead-mouseHe was contendedly sipping his coffee that he got Monday from the Prospect Street location until he got to the bottom of the paper takeout cup.

“I always take the lid off to get my last sip of coffee. And when I took the lid off, there was a little bit of a surprise in my coffee cup. It was a dead mouse,” Morais said.

Morais said that wasn’t all that was in the cup. He said the mouse left “a few little, shall we say, presents” at the bottom of it.

Morais then showed a few of his co-workers what he had found.

“Unless I had been there and seen Ron drink all that coffee down to the last drop, I would have been, like, ‘You’re lying,’” said one colleague, Brad Patterson.

Jennifer LaHaye, another co-worker who saw the mouse, recalls Morais’s reaction.

“’Oh my God, there’s a mouse in my coffee,’ is what he says. I turn around and look at him. The first time I looked, I actually looked and it’s really, he’s not joking,” LaHaye said.

“Like is he OK — and after that, I got green to the gills.”

Jason Patuano, the communications manager for the eastern region for McDonald’s Canada, issued a corporate statement that underscored how seriously the chain takes food safety.

“We take allegations involving cleanliness and sanitation very seriously,” the statement said.

“Upon learning of this situation, the local franchisee immediately began an investigation, including working closely with the local public health authority who conducted an inspection this [Tuesday] morning following receiving a complaint.”

McDonald’s meat supplier OSI might quit China after scandal

US-based food supplier OSI may withdraw from the market in China after its Shanghai arm Husi Food supplied expired meat to fast food chains, including McDonald’s and KFC.

MW-CO437_china__20140727232405_MGMcDonald’s China has officially terminated its partnership with Husi and has teamed up with new suppliers.

McDonald’s China confirmed its new list of five meat suppliers, consisting of McKey, Cargill, Hormel, Trident and Sunner, reports Shanghai’s China Business News.

Even though executives at OSI tried to save the company’s business in China, OSI’s partners have refused to take a risk by continuing the partnership.

Burger King, KFC and 7-Eleven have also terminated their business with OSI.

OSI, which was founded in 1909, is the designated global supplier for top fast-food chain restaurants, including McDonald’s, KFC and Pizza Hut.

It spent over two decades and US$750 million to build its business in China, which has collapsed after the expired meat scandal.

Always after an outbreak instead of before: McDonald’s to increase oversight of Chinese suppliers

McDonald’s said it would monitor its suppliers in China more closely after a food safety scandal in the country hurt the chain’s sales and reputation.

mcdonalds.chinaThe company plans to increase audits and video monitoring at its suppliers and send more employees to meat production facilities to ensure its food is prepared safely. It also named a new food safety officer and created a hotline where employees can report poor food safety practices, McDonald’s said in a statement on Tuesday.

The changes come after a TV report in July showed workers at the McDonald’s supplier Shanghai Husi Food Company repacking meat past its expiration date. McDonald’s stopped using the Shanghai plant and many restaurants were unable to provide some products, including Big Macs and Chicken McNuggets.

McDonald’s, based in Oak Brook, Ill., reported a 7.3 percent drop in July sales at its restaurants in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Other fast-food companies have been hurt by food safety concerns in China. Husi, owned by OSI Group, based in Aurora, Ill., was also accused of selling old meat to KFC. KFC also stopped using meat from the plant.