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Top 10 Most Disgusting Fast Food F-Ups

Samy Martinez |
June 7, 2014 | 4:15 p.m. PDT


I was recently standing in line at the grocery store and, as I frequently try to find a source of entertainment, decided to eavesdrop on the two young men behind me. They were making eyebrow-raising accusations about the latest fast food scandal they had read about online. I assume the men caught me listening to their conversation after I not-so-mysteriously began gagging. 

Immediately, I took out my phone and searched credible sources for the information on that particular fast food scandal. The story ended up being a hoax, but the point is the story itself is believable because fast food is... just that bad.

If you need proof, here's our list of the top 10 most disgusting fast food f***-ups.

10. We Proudly Brew Toilet Water

I thought running to the restroom was a common side effect after drinking your morning cup of coffee, not the other way around. In May 2013, a series of pictures emerged from a Starbucks location at the Bank of China Tower, showing an employee run to the men’s bathroom to retrieve water. The photographs reveal a “Starbucks Only” label on the bathroom’s water spout, located a couple feet away from a urinal. The employee left his station behind the counter to fill a container with bathroom water, then transport it back to the coffee shop using a cart. This left many Starbucks patrons with a funky taste in their mouth, wondering if the beloved coffeehouse was brewing their cups of Joe with toilet water.

Starbucks spokeswoman Wendy Pang confirmed reports that the water from the men’s bathroom was used to brew coffee. The specific Hong Kong location did not have a direct water supply and the employees needed to obtain drinking water from the nearest source in the building. Pang assured the public that the water used was properly filtered prior to use. However, it is possible that the filtration system may not have removed all potential hazards including small viruses, and the water could potentially bring pathogens from the restroom into Starbucks’ food and drink preparation area. Pang concluded her statement by adding that the branch is now using distilled water.

9. Putting The “Pee” In Pizza

The only two acceptable places to urinate are in a bathroom or in a pool (kidding). I’m pretty sure that a restaurant’s kitchen sink does not fit either of those previous descriptions. However, that did not matter to a district manager of Pizza Hut in southern West Virginia. That is, until he was caught on camera. The video shows the manager on the computer, who then makes a 180-degree turn to face the kitchen sink, whips it out and begins peeing. It’s not just a one-time thing either. The video shows the manager urinating in the sink repeatedly. My personal favorite part of the video is that he doesn’t wash his hands once. Did anyone else notice that?

8. She’s A Licker, That One

KFC dropped its famous slogan, “It’s finger-lickin’ good,” in 2011, and apparently a KFC employee is trying to come up with her own version. Thanks to the power of social media, a picture of an employee licking (or coming very close to licking) a large tub of mashed potatoes went viral. The picture surfaced in February 2013, in the middle of a long chain of similar-type fast food prank pictures. If that is what happens and the employees willingly post it to their Facebook accounts, it begs the question what else happens in fast food kitchens that doesn’t make it to social media.

7. A Frosty Ordeal

An assumed, environmentally friendly Wendy’s employee was the latest addition to the collection of viral pictures and videos showing what happens in the kitchens of popular fast food restaurants. The picture, originally posted on Reddit, shows the employee guzzling directly from the restaurant’s vanilla Frosty machine. Why waste a plastic cup when you can drink straight from the source, right? Well, the timing of this scandal could not have happened at a less opportune moment. The incident occurred in June 2013, just after Wendy’s launched a new campaign for a Father’s Day charity drive and introduced the Frosty Waffle Cone.

6. Mystery (Meat?) Substance

(Steven Depolo, Creative Commons)
(Steven Depolo, Creative Commons)
Taco Bell definitely thought outside of the bun, or should I say, outside of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) beef standards. In 2011, Taco Bell came under public scrutiny when reports exposed that the company’s seasoned beef did not meet the USDA’s minimum requirements to be labeled as “beef.” A false advertising lawsuit was filed against Taco Bell in January 2011 by an Alabama-based law firm. The suit mentioned that only 35 percent of the mystery meat substance was actual beef. The other 65 percent was composed of ingredients including: sodium phosphate, maltodextrin, modified corn starch, soy lecithin, autolyzed yeast extract, wheat oats, isolated oat product, water and anti-dusting agent. The lawsuit was dropped by the Alabama-based law firm after Taco Bell changed its marketing and product disclosure.

5. Seabiscuit Whopper

(Feliciano Guimarães, Creative Commons)
(Feliciano Guimarães, Creative Commons)
I think I speak for most of us when I say that “my way” does not include any trace of horse meat. Burger King admitted, in early 2013, that is it possible that some of its burgers sold in the U.K. and Ireland may have been tainted with horse meat. Allegedly, Burger King was supplied with meat from an unapproved distributor in Poland. The distributor used meats other than beef, such as meats from horses and pigs, as a filler in cheap burger patties. There was no actual proof that Burger King served burgers containing horse meat, but the fast food company disclosed that some locations may have unintentionally done so.

4. McSued For The McShards

(torbakhopper, Creative Commons)
(torbakhopper, Creative Commons)
There have been at least two cases where McDonald’s customers were not lovin’ the shards of glass in their meals. The first case was in 2005 when a New York City police officer bit into his Big Mac, breaking his tooth and suffering cuts to his mouth and throat. McDonald’s employee Albert Garcia put the shards of glass into the Big Mac and was later arrested and charged with felony assault against a police officer.

Almost six years later in 2011, another McDonald’s patron found the extra ingredient the hard way, and sued McDonald’s for permanent oral injuries. The perpetrator? It is hypothesized that the glass shards came from a glass coffee pot that overheated and exploded.

3. Domino-no

Two Domino’s employees took the term “farting around” to a whole other level. A video was posted in April 2009, showing one employee preparing sandwiches for delivery by putting cheese up his nose, nasal mucus on the sandwiches, farting on the ingredients and violating a large majority of health-code standards. The other employee was kind enough to film what went down in Domino’s kitchen and provide a wonderful narration of what specifically was happening. Within a couple of days, the two employees were faced with felony charges for distributing prohibited foods.

2. New Meaning To A “Finger Sandwich”

(ford8n, Creative Commons)
(ford8n, Creative Commons)
Maybe Arby’s employees were confused by the term “finger sandwich”. In May 2012, a Michigan teen found a fleshy surprise when he bit into his roast beef sandwich. The surprise turned out to be part of a finger measuring about one-inch long and a quarter-inch thick. The 14-year-old described the piece of flesh as rubbery and knew something about that particular bite was not normal.

Health investigators said what likely happened was that a worker left her area after cutting her finger on a meat slicer. While she was away, an unaware coworker continued the regular duties of slicing the meat and preparing sandwiches.

1. Jack In The Crack

I never understood why my parents referred to Jack in the Box as “Jack in the Crack” until now. Throwing it back to 1993, Jack in the Box distributed uncooked meat patties, containing fecal material, to customers in the Pacific Northwest. This sh*t-storm caused 600 people to fall ill and four children died as a result. Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against the company responsible for the E. Coli outbreak, which was immediately settled to avoid more bad publicity.

Allegedly, the meat was contaminated at the slaughterhouse. However, the USDA and state health officials say the bacteria could have been killed if Jack in the Box cooked the patties at 155 degrees as required by state law.

Which fast food f-up do you think is the most disgusting? Let me know what you think, or if you know any other stories that should be on this list.

Reach Contributor Samy Martinez here.



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