McDonald's restaurant immediately shut and fined £475,000 after customer found mouse droppings found in burger | The Sun
A MCDONALD's restaurant was immediately shut and fined £475,000 after a drive-thru customer found mouse droppings in their cheeseburger.
Inspectors found rodent droppings and an active infestation at the branch in Leytonstone, east London, after the gruesome discovery in October 2021.
Droppings were found on the floor of the food preparation and main cooking section, next to a tray of cooking utensils, in a cleaning-store cupboard and in a box containing a bottle of caramel drizzle drink sauce.
The inspectors, who also found the decomposing remains of a mouse on a mop head, immediately shut down the restaurant, asking customers to leave.
McDonald’s pleaded guilty to three hygiene breaches at Thames Magistrates Court and was ordered to pay £475,000 plus £22,000 in costs on Tuesday.
A spokesperson said: “We apologise unreservedly for this incident and for any upset caused.”
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Environmental Health Officers visited the restaurant on 15 October 2021, after customer Lisa Honeycombe complained she had found droppings while eating her 24-hour drive-thru order.
She was half-way through eating her cheeseburger when she noticed what she thought was a mouse dropping on the inside of the wrapper.
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Lisa complained to the council, which sent experts to the restaurant and found conditions at the premises that presented a real risk to the health of customers.
Poor hygiene conditions were found despite paperwork claiming cleaning schedules had been completed.
The inspection also uncovered several areas in the kitchen that were greasy, dirty and dusty.
The officers determined the outlet to be so unhygienic that it posed an “imminent risk to health” and ordered the restaurant be immediately closed with customers inside asked to leave.
Following the closure the store remained closed for 10 days, at which point the council’s officers were satisfied that all the issues identified had been resolved and the restaurant was allowed to re-open.
However the council decided to prosecute as the hygiene breaches were so extensive.
This is not some backstreet burger or kebab bar – children go to McDonald’s as a treat
Cllr Khevyn Limbajee said: “We are grateful for the quick thinking of the customer in this case for reporting the matter to the council for investigation.
“McDonald’s is a large and well experienced food business operator in the fast-food sector who serves thousands of meals per week to its customers, therefore the risk presented at the Leytonstone store was significant.
“It was appreciated that McDonald’s pleaded guilty and admitted wrongdoing at the first opportunity.
"However, as a council we take food hygiene seriously and won’t hesitate to follow up complaints and take action where appropriate, irrespective of who operates the food business.
"We take a zero-tolerance approach to serious hygiene contraventions.”
District Judge Susan Holdham said: “McDonald's is a very reputable company.
"When customers go to McDonald's, they expect and have the right to expect the highest standards in food hygiene.
“This is not some backstreet burger or kebab bar – children go to McDonald’s as a treat.
“The premises was dirty, this was built-up grease and dirt caused by non-existent or ineffective cleaning over long periods of time.”
The branch has since been given a hygiene rating of 4 out of five.
The conviction is understood to be only the second ever for food hygiene in the UK for McDonald's, who own more than 1,000 different restaurants across the UK
A statement from McDonald’s said: “We apologise unreservedly for this incident and for any upset caused.
“We are committed to the highest standards of health, safety, quality and hygiene and in this instance we fell short of the standards we set ourselves across all our restaurants.
“We have worked closely with our Primary Authority, London Borough of Barnet, for many years on our food safety processes and controls.
"While we have extensive food safety systems in place, unfortunately these were not adequately implemented at this restaurant on this occasion.
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“Following the incident a full review of policy and procedures was undertaken at both a local and national level to ensure an issue of this nature does not occur again.”
It comes after a shocking video revealed the inside of a Wetherspoons kitchen – including pictures of mouldy cheese, brown liquid on the floor, out-of-date food and filthy microwaves.
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