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.
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.