(ANTIMEDIA) Laplace, Louisiana – A McDonald’s employee says he was fired after posting a disturbing picture of the ice cream machine at the Louisiana location where he worked. The photo he tweeted quickly went viral, prompting an internet backlash for the fast food giant.
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The former employee, who preferred to be referred to only as ‘Nick,” posted a picture of the ice cream machine’s drip tray, which is visibly coated in grime and sticky material. According to HuffPo, Nick says store managers are supposed to clean it but that he never saw them do when he worked there. He was employed from March to this month.
“This came out of McDonald’s ice cream machine in case y’all were wondering…” he captioned his tweet of the photo. Though it hasn’t quite hit major mainstream outlets, the image has been covered by Teen Vogue and Cosmopolitan and has been retweeted over 13,000 times and received over 15,000 likes.
FoodBeast observed that the filthy ooze doesn’t end up in the ice cream, “but you never want to see photos like that coming out of a restaurant.” The outlet also reported that Nick’s tweets appeared to have inspired at least two other McDonald’s employees to tweet images of disgusting conditions.
Additionally, Nick told HuffPo there were other sanitary issues at the McDonald’s where he worked. “Sometimes my coworkers would drop the food and put it back on the bun. I’ve seen it happen several times.”
He went a step further on Twitter, sharing images of McDonald’s frozen food before it’s cooked. “Since I’m exposing McDonald’s I might as well show y’all what y’all really eating… fresh out the freezer.”
As he clarified in an additional tweet, “I mean it’s no surprise that it’s frozen but this shit isn’t even real meat or fish.” (McDonald’s maintains that their hamburgers are 100% beef).
HuffPo reported that there are two different McDonald’s locations in Laplace, and Nick declined to specify which one was his former employer.
“Louisiana Department of Health records show two McDonald’s in Laplace,” HuffPo noted. “The most recent health inspections in online records, from 2015, show one location had three ‘critical corrected’ infractions, including cross-contamination of raw and ready-to-eat food, improper storage of toxic chemicals and unclean surfaces and utensils.”
McDonald’s did not respond to HuffPo’s request for comment on the viral image, though to be fair, the massive company has many franchise locations, meaning the corporation is not directly in charge of the operations of each restaurant.
Nevertheless, at HuffPo notes, “isolated or not, the incident will certainly make us think twice before our next bite on the town.”
A year-and-a-half-long Dateline investigation of ten of the top fast food chains in the country examined“100 restaurants from each chain, 1,000 in all, spanning 38 states” and found that “the 100 McDonald’s we looked at came in with a total of 136 critical violations. Some didn’t have a trained and certified food handler on the job, required by law in many states.” McDonald’s had fewer violations than the likes of Subway, Burger King, and KFC, but all ten chains surveyed displayed numerous questionable practices.
McDonald’s is no stranger to criticism of its food handling and ingredients. Just recently, a BBC investigation of McDonald’s and other fast food locations in the U.K. revealed fecal bacteria in the restaurants’ iced drinks. McDonald’s has also faced scrutiny for the low quality and unhealthy ingredients they use, from beef loaded with antibiotics to a “healthy” kale salad introduced last year that contained more calories than the chain’s Big Mac.
Even so, the company appears to be reversing flagging sales thanks to the popularity of their new menu items and cheap drinks, meaning consumers might be more concerned with access to inexpensive, flavorful food than high sanitary standards and healthy ingredients.