McDonald's Corporation Complaint - Gross food safety violations, how do they manage to pass inspections by the health department?
CALDWELL, IDAHO -- Well let me tell you about my experience with McDonalds.
I recently moved from Washington State to Idaho and was looking for a job. I have worked for another fast food chain as a cook for over 10 years, I thought working at McDonalds wouldn't be that much different. Since there was one inside the Walmart close to my house I thought this would be very convenient. I went to the orientation in Boise then for 2 days trained at their training restaurant in Caldwell.
By the time the 2nd day of training was over I was completely shocked and disgusted at what I had witnessed. I have never seen so many food safety violations in my entire life and all in one place too.
The kitchen at the training restaurant was utter chaos, there were so many people there that they were tripping over each other. I was used to working in a very clean kitchen with only one or two other people, often all by myself during the afternoon slowdown. I took pride in my work and the cleanliness of the restaurant, we frequently received positive comments from customers.
Day 1 of training: To begin with there was no nailbrush at the handwash sink at that restaurant. I was put on fries which seemed easy enough, however the trainer was more concerned about a few spots of grease on the rim of the fryers from moving the baskets around than the floor in front of it which was completely covered in grease! There again it evidently takes at least two people to work the fryside which is only for fries. In comparison, at my old job the floor had never ever looked like this, not even during a high volume lunch period. And the person working fryside cooked, dumped, salted, scooped the fries in the appropriate containers then put them in the passthru. The same person also made popcorn shrimp, onion rings, fish and fried chicken and finished the products by him/herself.
Day 2 of training: After watching a video I was handed a filthy apron, told to put on some gloves and then I was placed on the assembly line to make burgers and other sandwiches. This was a new experience for me since at my previous job I made every burger from start to finish (often several at the same time) which instills a sense of pride and accomplishment at providing the customer with a high quality, good looking, neatly wrapped, hot product with meat or chicken fresh from the grill or fryer. There was also no hot holding for the chicken strips or fried chicken and fish sandwiches at DQ, they were cooked to order and anything that sat in the passthru longer than 3 minutes was thrown out and had to be made over. Evidently at McDonalds it is ok to keep it at the "landing zone" for up to 10 minutes.
I was told in the training video to keep watch for the timers in the hot holding unit and discard food after the time runs out. Not so! the people there simply left the food in and restarted the timer, unbelievable! Their condiment table has no ice under the pans to keep the lettuce, tomato slices, onions, pickles and cheese fresh! Even if I have a BBQ at home I always put the condiments on ice. I never knew before that McDonalds uses reconstituted dehydrated diced onions either, yuck! Mayo and burger sauce is kept at room temperature as well (do you realize how many bacteria can grow in mayonnaise, which is an egg product, in just a few minutes?). Evidently this is company wide procedure though and is covered in the training video as "tempering" to ensure that the cheese melts easier when put on the burgers and it is left like this exposed to room temperature for supposedly up to 2 hours (I don't recall seeing it getting changed during the entire 4 hours that I was there). The swiss cheese was happily sweating away in a plastic container on top of the shelf above the prep table next to the container of tomato slices and an uncovered tray of bacon strips.
Then I was yelled at for using the little chicken nugget scooper for a chicken sandwich patty since there didn't appear to be any tongs to use for the chicken patty. I was told to just use the same tongs used for the burger patties to use for the chicken, can you say cross contamination? After a few minutes of this I took off my gloves and went to the restroom in tears. I had to regain my composure first, then when I returned the other employees on the assembly line told me it was ok, that I would "get the hang of it". I told them that was not the problem, that I was just completely disgusted right now and that I will never ever eat McDonalds food again.
When they had me on outside lot duty and changing the garbage bags I found one garbage can that had about and inch and a half of spilled liquid in the bottom, so I asked the trainer where the hose was to rinse the smelly stuff out and she told me not to worry about it and just stick a new bag in.
Coming from a very clean and safety conscious Dairy Queen restaurant I was appalled at what I saw there at McDonalds and my thoughts turned to my two now-grown children whom I routinely took to McDonalds for their happy meals when they were little. Had I known then what I know now I would have never allowed them to eat at any McDonalds.
After the end of training that day I received my employee meal, I opted for fried chicken selects rather than a burger (now that I know how they are prepared) I handed the bag to my daughter, I told her here, you can have it, I'm not hungry (even though I hadn't really eaten anything that day) she said they were gross and old tasting and even our cats or dog wouldn't eat them, how sad is that?
The following day I spoke to the manager at the restaurant I was supposed to start working at inside Walmart and told him I couldn't work there, he asked why and I said I didn't want to tell him in front of the customers (there were several people standing near us) But he insisted on details so I told him everything I described above and that I couldn't possibly serve customers food that I wouldn't want to eat myself.
I just can't believe that McDonalds is getting away with this. How do they manage to pass inspections by the health department?