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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mick D,s has aded something new to the Big Mac, a Big Rat

PHILADELPHIA - It's the video you'll see only on Fox 29: a mouse stuck in a bag of McDonald's hamburger buns, nibbling away.

Slideshow: Mouse In Bag Of Big Mac Rolls
Raw Video: Rodent In Bag Of Rolls

A now former employee at a McDonald's in Philadelphia claims he saw the rodent while on the job and whipped out his cell phone camera.

He's talking only to Fox about what his manager told him to do with that food.

The man says this happened when he worked for the McDonald's on Stenton Avenue in the Philadelphia's West Oak Lane section.

The Fox 29 viewer contacted us because he says he was so disturbed by what was happening, he wanted to warn customers:

In the video is a bag of hamburger buns used to make Big Macs. Inside that bag, a mouse is scurrying around, making contact with who knows how many buns.
You can see the mouse in the raw video.

"That wasn't the first time. That was about the sixth or seventh time. That's what made me like, I got to get video of this," said Karruim Demaio, the former employee.

Demaio tells us he shot the video with his cellphone camera on November 14th, in the back storage room of this McDonald's on Stenton Avenue at Haines, in West Oak Lane.

"I was going back there to get something else and I heard some rustling, so I turned around, and I look, I seen a mouse inside the bread. Not on top of the package, but inside of the package," he said.
In the video, the brown object in the center-right of the screen is apparent. You can see the tail come into focus as the mouse squirms between the buns.

"I was working there from October of 2010 to January of this year. There hasn't been a time when we couldn't go in the back and see mouse droppings on the bread," Demaio said.

Demaio told Fox 29 his boss ordered employees to brush off the droppings, and serve the bread to customers.

Fox 29 spoke to another former employee who did not want to be identified. He says he was fired for not showing up to work. That employee confirmed what Demaio told us.

What's more, that former employee says he once saw the general manager brush off the droppings herself.
We confronted the manager at the store and asked if she was the general manager.
"Yes," she nodded.

"One former employee tells us that he saw you picking mouse droppings off the bread... Ma'am, do you have anything to say to that?" we asked.

"Yes, I'm going to call the police for that, that's so crazy," she responded.
She denied the accusations, and referred us to McDonald's corporate communications.
We did ask Demaio why he didn't warn the health department. And why he waited to contact Fox 29 until after he was fired for poor performance.

"I'm thinking about my paycheck that's coming for my wife and my kids, to be honest with you. That was my top priority, I need money in my house, this is my job," he said.

Demaio told us he's worked at two other McDonald's, and never saw anything like this. He believes it's isolated to this restaurant.

The other former employee we spoke to told us the problems began only after the general manager in our report took over.

We did contact the owner of that McDonald's franchise and he initially said he did not watch our report, but later sent out a statement.

"After viewing the video, we are going to continue to investigate this claim to make certain we have all the facts. I want my customers to know that I am taking this matter seriously and will immediately address any issues that may exist. Therefore, if necessary, we will work with the appropriate authorities to get the facts," said  Ken Youngblood, McDonald's owner/operator.

Fox 29 did some digging, and discovered a history of health violations at that McDonald's in West Oak Lane, dating back at least a year and a half.

According to recent inspections by the Philadelphia Health Department, "the establishment is not in satisfactory compliance... And current management practices have allowed unacceptable public health or food safety conditions."

This is some of what they found in the most recent inspection reports: live flies in the food prep area; perishable food that was not kept cool enough; and refrigeration units that were not operating properly.
But inspectors did not find evidence of rodents.

We do know the restaurant was scheduled for a hearing in the court of common pleas on November 22nd, but the health department was unable to tell us the results by air time.

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