As soon as the coffee touched her lips, Sarah Douglas knew something was wrong.
The woman, from Lethbridge, Canada, is pregnant with her third child and had picked up an early-morning latte on the way to her son’s baseball tournament. She went through the drive-through at about 6:45 AM on July 29. From there, she turned onto the highway where she had the first sip of her beverage. In an interview with Lethbridge News Now, Sarah said:
“I immediately had to put my hazard lights on and pull over and spit it out and rinse my mouth out.”
“I opened up the lid of the coffee and out pours this pungent smell of chemical. It wasn’t a latte at all.”
Inside the cup, the liquid was a watery-brown color and appeared to have been standing for a long time. The pregnant mother put the lid back on and immediately returned to the restaurant. When she arrived with her complaint, the employee asked her if she’d like a replacement.
“I showed him the coffee and he asked if I wanted a new one, and I said, ‘Absolutely not, this is unacceptable.'”
“I said I needed to speak to someone higher up and he said he was the only supervisor on at the time, and he gave me his manager’s number.”
It turns out that the cleaning lines had been hooked up to the latte machine— and were still there by the time Sarah had driven back to the restaurant.
“The supervisor went and got the bottle that was hooked up to it and brought it over to the counter and I took a picture of it, so I knew what I was working with,” she said.
“Then another co-worker of his had also overheard what had been going on, and was a little bit upset at the situation and said that this had happened before. And she was a little mad that it was occurring again.”
Alison Mackisey, the Lethbridge and area Brand Manager of McDonald’s, reached out to Sarah to make sure she was okay. She also provided the woman with information about what she had ingested. According to Lethbridge News Now, the agent contained citric acid, phosphoric acid, methy-trimethyl-3, and 2-butoxyethanol. It also said first aid methods should be employed if ingested.
Since everything happened, Dan Brown, the franchise owner has released a statement, saying:
“Since learning about the complaint, our team has been in very close contact with the guest and apologized to her. The health inspector also visited my restaurant and is not investigating further.
McDonald’s is renowned for its food safety protocols and I am sorry that this happened in my restaurant here in Lethbridge.
What happened is that the machine was being cleaned – as it is every morning. Unfortunately, the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made.
We have taken immediate action to review the proper cleaning procedures with the team and have put additional signage up as an added reminder.”
Sarah confirmed the restaurant phoned to issue an apology, however, she still has concerns about the restaurant’s safety.
She worries that if these cleaning solutions are used in other beverage machines, a child may ingest the same chemicals— with much more serious consequences.
“As a mother, I want to make sure I have a voice and that I’m being heard in terms of the safety of consumers.”
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Source: Time via Tout