'It's a scandal': Claims meat and veggie products stored together at 'chaotic' McDonald's
PUBLISHED: 16:07 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 21 June 2019
Bosses at a "chaotic" Norfolk McDonald's branch are under increasing pressure after new claims that meat products were stored with vegetarian food.
Earlier this week a whistleblower who worked at the McDonald's in Hoveton told how employees were routinely asked to purchase ingredients from nearby supermarkets and even prepare food at home.
Now a source has revealed more shocking photographs apparently showing frozen meat in blue bags lying open next to vegetarian products in green bags.
But a McDonald's spokesman said the photographs "did not represent any ongoing issues" at the restaurant.
The pictures also show items which have fallen out of the bags and are lying loose in a frozen food container.
Stock in the meat bags are chicken nuggets and chicken selects, the items in the unsealed bags are apple pies and vegetable goujons.
"It just felt wrong," said the whistleblower. "We would have kids coming in and ordering the vegetarian goujons because they wanted to be meat-free and thought they were doing the right thing.
"It was chaotic. Stuff was just being dumped everywhere. I took these pictures because I was so gobsmacked. The whole thing is horrendous and people need to know so McDonald's can sort it out - it is a scandal."
Last year North Norfolk Council awarded the restaurant full marks in their food hygiene inspection. But officials have now confirmed that in light of the revelations inspectors are going to return to the restaurant in the near future.
According to the Food Standards Agency "manufacturers should be able to demonstrate that foods presented as 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' have not been contaminated with non-vegetarian or non-vegan foods during storage, preparation, cooking or display".
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Pictures supplied by the whistleblower also show the stockroom piled with boxes and products with sauces spilling and pooling on to the floor.
Previously McDonald's confirmed they had investigated claims and senior management had taken action at the branch.
A spokesman for McDonald's said: "We reject the claim that these photographs reflect any ongoing issues at the Wroxham restaurant, and believe they have been shared by a disgruntled former employee. Food safety and hygiene are our absolute priority.
"The restaurant is regularly audited to meet internal standards and has also held a five-star hygiene rating for a number of years, awarded after unannounced inspections from independent Environmental Health Officers."
'You'd expect high standards'
Emma Downes and her two children have eaten in the McDonald's in Hoveton before.
Talking about the risk of contamination from food being prepared at staff's homes she said: "It's disgusting. Luckily my kids don't have allergies but as a mum I can imagine how stressful it would be if my children did."
Ms Downes, who is from Coltishall, said she'd never eat in the restaurant again.
The same applies for 67-year-old Stephen Clarke, whose daughter does have a severe nut allergy.
"My daughter has been air lifted to hospital as a result of her allergy, and her life would be in danger if she had eaten food which hadn't been prepared in a hygienic restaurant and had been done at home," he said.
"Thankfully my grandchildren don't have allergies but I have taken them to other McDonald's restaurants."
Holidaymakers Tom and Leanne Barnes similarly felt they would question McDonald's restaurants before eating there from now on.
Mr Barnes, from Southampton, said: "You go in there because it's convenient and quick but it's a huge brand so you'd expect really high standards."