McDonald’s has issued an apology to a pregnant woman who was served a cleaning agent instead of the latte she had ordered at an outlet in Canada’s Lethbridge.
The incident occurred on the morning of July 29.
According to media reports, the woman, Sarah Douglas, who is pregnant with her third child, had stopped at the McD drive-through for a coffee while taking her son to a baseball tournament. After one sip, she knew something was wrong.
“I immediately had to put my hazard lights on and pull over and spit it out and rinse my mouth out with…in the door of my vehicle I had some water. I opened up the lid of the coffee and out pours this pungent smell of chemical. It wasn’t a latte at all,” Douglas was quoted as saying by Lethbridge News Now website.
According to her, the drink looked a watery-brownish colour.
Douglas immediately drove back to the McDonald’s outlet to complain and sought to speak to a supervisor.
“I showed him the coffee and he had asked if I wanted a new one, and I said, ‘absolutely not, this is unacceptable.’ I said I need to speak to someone higher up and he said he was the only supervisor on at the time, and he gave me his manager’s phone number,” she told Lethbridge News Now.
One of the staff members then told Douglas that “two cleaning lines were hooked up to the latte machine”.
“The supervisor went and got the bottle that was hooked up to it and brought it over to the counter, and I took a picture of it, so I knew what I was working with – what I had consumed…”
Douglas then contacted the Alberta Health Services’ Health Link, which referred her to poison control, news agency The Canadian Press reported.
A McDonald’s spokeswoman later issued an apology on behalf of Dan Brown, the restaurant franchisee.
“McDonald’s is renowned for its food safety protocols and I am sorry that this happened in my restaurant here in Lethbridge,” McDonald’s External Communications Supervisor, Corporate Relations, Laura Munzar said on behalf of Brown.
Douglas decided to bring the matter to the notice of public saying she wanted to share her experience to ensure that this never happened again with anyone else.
“As a mother, I want to make sure I have voice and that I’m being heard in terms of the safety of consumers, and how (alleged) negligence can affect people in such a drastic way,” The Canadian Press quoted her as saying.
While the Alberta Health Services are investigating the matter, McDonald’s has said a health inspector visited the restaurant and would not be investigating further.
“What happened is that the machine was being cleaned — as it is every morning. Unfortunately, the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made,” Brown said in the statement. “We have taken immediate action to review the proper cleaning procedures with the team and have put additional signage up as an added reminder.”
Douglas is doing fine now, health wise. She told LNN that McDonald’s reached out to her to convey the chemical composition of the cleaning agent she was served and the type of first aid methods should be employed should it be ingested.
According to McDonald’s, the cleaning agent contains citric acid, phosphoric acid, methy-trimethyl-3, and 2-butoxyethanol.