Photos of a moldy ice cream machine tray from a locally owned McDonald’s franchise in LaPlace, Louisiana, caused outrage online and a response from the headquarters … in China.
The viral photos were posted online by an 18-year-old who worked at the restaurant for five months.
"I was completely shocked by what I saw,” the employee told Buzzfeed, who only identified him as Nick. “I thought [the machine] would be cleaned regularly.”
Nick said that he discovered the moldy tray when cleaning ice cream that he accidentally spilled.
In China, McDonald’s posted a statement on Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging site, and its corporate website.
“We're paying attention to the information being reposted today online about U.S. ice cream machines,” read the statement, according to Reuters on Wednesday. “In China, ice cream machines used at McDonald's restaurants are automatically disinfected every day at a set time to ensure food safety.”
The American McDonald’s site and social media are bereft of such a statement.
The incident happened a month ago, and the photos were posted on Nick’s Twitter account on July 14.
This came out of McDonald's ice cream machine in case y'all were wondering... pic.twitter.com/DTXXpzE7Ce
— nick (@phuckyounick) July 14, 2017
The employee violated the company’s social media policy which states: “In order to protect the McDonald’s brand, we do not use social media to undermine the goodwill, reputation, development and/or operation of McDonald’s, our products, our services and our people.”
Nick told Buzzfeed that he was pulled aside by a manager a week ago and was fired.
"The working conditions were ridiculous — everyone was inappropriate and nothing was clean," he said. “They banned me from that McDonald's.”
McDonald’s did not respond to International Business Times’ request for comment Thursday, but did respond to Buzzfeed.
“(We are) committed to running great restaurants (with) high-quality food, service, and a clean environment,” said a McDonald’s spokesperson to Buzzfeed.
“This is a part of our soft-serve equipment that does not come into contact with any food and is required to undergo regular and timely cleaning,” the representative stated.
Nick kept the pictures for two weeks before posting them online.
“I shared it because I wanted to let people know what they’re consuming, and how disgusting the conditions are,” he said.
Social media was also disgusted, with numerous posts about the incident. Animal rights organization PETA also chimed in.
As if you needed another reason to stay away from McDonalds _ The mold from this ice cream machine is horrifying. https://t.co/gfkhETISqi
— PETA (@peta) July 27, 2017
Somebody Told Me That McDonalds Has Mold In Their Ice Cream , Now I'm Scared To Get Ice Cream There .
— reesa _ (@xConceited_) September 2, 2013
Former McDonald's employees also commented about the incident.
When I used to work at McDonald's, we used to clean and dry off every thing everyday. And check for mold every week. This is just a incident
hijden (@Mrhijden) July 27, 2017