TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A “needle”-like object caused significant bleeding after a man bit into his burger at a McDonald's in southern Taiwan on Tuesday (March 19).
After leaving work early Tuesday morning the 27-year-old, surnamed Shih (施), ordered a beef burger at the McDonald's on Beigang Road, Chiayi City. After taking his third bite he felt a sharp, piercing pain to his tongue that was caused by a bent "needle."
Shih said it was intensely painful and his mouth bled profusely. After he posted an account on the Facebook group Breaking News Commune (爆料公社) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, the news quickly went viral.
In response, Chiayi City Department of Health twice dispatched inspectors to the McDonald's. McDonald's head office also investigated the matter.
A preliminary finding revealed that restaurant staff used steel brushes to clean containers. It is suspected that a bristle fell into the beef patty container. The Department of Health said it would fine the fast food chain for violating the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation (食安法).
Chiayi City Health Bureau Deputy Chief Liao Yu-wei (廖育瑋) said that if McDonald’s was found to be negligent, it could be fined between NT$60,000 (US$1,900) and NT$200 million (US$6.48 million) for violating Article 15 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation, reported United Daily News.
During the first inspection, the store manager claimed that staff used scouring pads to clean pots and pans. During the second inspection, however, the manager confessed steel brushes were used.
If the manager is found to have hindered the investigation, McDonald’s could be fined an additional NT$30,000 for violating Article 47 of the Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation.
McDonald's told UDN the restaurant supervisor helped Shih get medical attention and refunded the cost of his meal. It claims the injury was due to restaurant staff using non-company cleaning equipment.
A McDonald's spokesperson said the company was sincerely sorry and it would ensure that all its Taiwan restaurants adhered to standard operating procedures. It would also further improve management and personnel training.
Shih said he lived near the McDonald's branch and typically ate there every few days. He added that he previously had no problems but, “For now, I don't dare eat at the branch."
Commentators on Breaking News Commune were horrified by the incident:
"Good thing it wasn't a child who ate it."
"It's terrible and ridiculous."
"Quality management is too lame."
"McDonald's food is getting worse and worse, and its quality is getting more and more unstable."