You'll' Never Eat at a Fast Food Joint Again

Want to guarantee you'll never eat fast food again?

Listen to this.  Melanie Haiken writes at forbes.com that the food we usually think is healthiest -- grilled chicken -- isn't.  She quotes one employee: “To keep it from sticking to the grill, we use three squirts of liquid margarine on the bottom of it. To keep it juicy, once we’ve lain the frozen blocks of chicken, three more squirts of liquid margarine are applied to the tops.”

(At least that's better than the chicken nuggets that come in liquid form at a famous place with arches, according to another source.)

How about tuna?  Stay away.  "Tuna is emptied out of a plastic packet, the water or oil is squeezed out of it, and then mayonnaise is added in equal parts to the tuna," Haiken reports. And that mayonnaise?  It may sit out all day.  And day-old chicken patties and nuggets? Sometimes they're stripped of their breaded coating, then chopped up and served as chicken salad.

What about fountain drinks with ice?  I actually learned about this from a food blog I write for.  You don't want to know what they do with the ice. Some places never clean the ice bins and insects and hair and grime collect there, transferred to your ice (it's also the way most people get sick on cruises -- dirty ice).  

According to those who clean the ice machines and fountains, the cleaning methods are sub par to say the least, Haiken notes. Says one such employee: “In my experience, the machines usually are let go until they stop producing ice. For the machine to stop producing ice there needs to be an absurd amount of slime, calcium, algae or a combination of all three.”

And the soda machines themselves?  They're hardly ever cleaned, either.  And when they are cleaned, sometimes some cleaning solution remains in the tanks -- and the stickiness attracts bugs.  

How about salad?  “So many things that hit the walk-in floor made it out to the salad bar," Haiken quotes another fast food employee.  "Then there’s what the diners do to it when it’s out there, protected only by a partial plastic shield," she adds (anyone want to say, "sneeze"?). And finally, there are the dressings: “The customers did all kinds of horrible things to the dressings, which were refilled instead of cleaned out when empty.”

What can you do to doughnuts?  You'd be surprised. At one of the most famous doughnut chains, “The oil is only changed once every two weeks,” one employee said. Fresh-made doughnuts only stay fresh for a few hours and you probably don’t want to eat a doughnut that’s been sitting on a rack. 

“Some of the racks are very close to the floor and when the line is cleaned, those close to the floor get splashed with the nasty water,” said one disgruntled worker. And glazed doughnuts? Let’s just say this: flies love glaze. And their little feet tend to stick in it. 

What about burgers?  We won't even talk about what goes into them, but in many cases burgers and other meats aren’t fully cooked on the grill, but are moved to a “warmer” with the assumption that they’ll finish cooking there, writes Haiken. "But if someone grabs them right away, watch out. Restaurant cooks also warn about ordering less popular cuts of meat, which may sit around all day waiting for a handful of customers to order them," she adds.

And finally, premixed shakes.  “When I worked at [name withheld], we were told to take the overrun from the shake machine, which is supposed to be thrown away for sanitary reasons, and put it into a steel milk can in the refrigerator every day from Monday to Friday," Haiken quotes another employee. "Then on Saturday and Sunday, we loaded this overrun into the shake machine. The manager said the health inspectors don’t work on the weekend, so no one will be able to inspect.I don’t drink shakes from fast food joints anymore.”

Care to join me at the arches this weekend?






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