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How many times a month do you eat out?

Posted by on Apr. 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM
  • 9 Replies
Police in South Carolina say that a McDonald's worker spit in two customers' cups of iced tea after they returned them because they weren't sweet enough. A video shows the employee,19-year-old Marvin Washington Jr., leaning over the open cups before giving them back. The fast food chain patrons claim they discovered phlegm in the drinks when they removed their tops. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with malicious tampering with food.

Related: The 11 Worst Burgers in America

Eating out can be an exercise in suspended disbelief. Wide eyed, we assume the food is fresh and wholesome and that workers have followed the "employees must wash hands" decree posted in the bathroom. Nevertheless, the McDonald's incident is so sickening because it actually bears out the urban legend that a disdainful waiter can and will contaminate your food if you tick him off.

Kitchen Confidential

Chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain's bestseller,Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,exposed the grungy side of the culinary world over a decade ago. Not only is the book a rollicking memoir about coming of age in the 1970s and 80s, it's a veritable primer for how not to get food poisoning on date night. Bourdain rudely threw open the kitchen doors and exposed restaurants' dirty little tricks such as filtering cigarette ash out of used butter to make a sauce and serving old beef to the customers who ordered it well done.

Chicken scandals

There are many more recent examples of restaurants serving contaminated food and having unsanitary kitchens, especially by fast food joints. Most recently, a lawsuit by the former manager of a Kentucky Friend Chicken franchise in Oregon alleges the owner fired other employees for refusing to serve chicken that had turned green and passed its expiration date. According to the lawsuit, he resigned because he "couldn't stand serving rotten chicken to families anymore."

Related: Fast Food Saltier in US than Overseas

The website chronicles a not-so-finger-lickin'-good list of other health code violations associated with the fried chicken franchise. They include rodent infestations, salmonella contamination, and foreign objects such as bandages and cock roaches showing up in cooked food.

Fast food dangers

Not to single out one business, an undercover NBC Dateline investigation revealed that 60% of restaurants in the nation's top 10 chains had received critical health code violations in the year-and-a-half prior to the report. Caroline Smith-Dewaal who works for the Center for Science in the Public Interest , a food safety watchdog group, explained, "A critical violation is something that happens in a restaurant that may result in the food becoming contaminated."

Some of the recurring problems at franchises such as McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Burger King were rodent droppings, insects, food borne illnesses, debris and grime on counters and in prep areas, and poor employee sanitation. Given that about 25% of Americans eat fast food everyday, that's millions of opportunities to be exposed to something nasty, or worse, a pathogen that could make you sick.

The Huffington Post catalogs a revolting list of items reported to have been found in customers' fast food. Some of the gruesome highlights: maggots in Wendy's fries, saliva on a Whopper, a bloody band-aid in a Pizza Hut pizza crust, and a fried mouse in a basket of Popeye's chicken.

As for independent restaurants, Bourdain claims that kitchens are more sanitary than when he was working on the line. "Things are much better now —with fish markets, with the quality of food handling in general," he told WebMD . "There is a sense of pride and raised expectations in kitchens now that didn't exist when I started out." The availability of restaurant inspection reports online may also be pushing owners to clean up their acts.

Nevertheless, restaurant report cards have no control over the impulsive nature of human beings. Maybe it would be better just to sweeten that tea yourself.
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by on Apr. 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM
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Replies (1-9):
by Christine-Arizona on Apr. 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM

 makes me feel so much better knowing I don't eat that much fast food, and I plan on taking all of it out! that's insane, insane!!! Sick, and ppl are just eating it up. so wrong.

by Orfelinda on Apr. 20, 2012 at 12:19 AM

Oh man I eat out all the time. Not to fast food places, but still I hope this does not happen to me.

by Jeannette-AZ/Mex on Apr. 20, 2012 at 2:05 AM

This is just so disguting! I am glad I only eat it once or twice a week. This is why I am always super nice to the servers!

by Kimberly-US/Mex on Apr. 20, 2012 at 7:59 AM
I used to eat out all the time but we hardly eat out anymore.
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by Lucy on Apr. 20, 2012 at 8:07 AM

We don't eat out a lot but shit, it makes you wonder, even if it was one time, and it only takes one time for that to happen. so sick. 

by New Member on Apr. 20, 2012 at 8:16 AM
That is pretty gross to think we are eating that and letting our kids war that we war out like twice a week but not fast food
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by NADIA on Apr. 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM
I didn't read them all cause I might puke LOL we eat out about 5 to 6 times a month but we are friends even or we think we are with the employees. But really what do those people think that someone else is not going to do it to them I don't think they don't eat out ever most people do.
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by Karla on Apr. 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM

We go out but we try to avoid fast food places...but seriously, what these people do, it's just plain disgusting!!

by Member on Apr. 21, 2012 at 2:03 AM

Eewww! We only ate out a few times this month because money's tight, but you're right, it's better to make your own food at home. My husband is a cook in a restaurant, and he tells me the same things. Man, as much as I don't feel like cooking sometimes, it's better than wondering if something gross is going to be in my food.

in love   

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