McDonald's fined £500K after inspector found mouse droppings in branch

McDonald’s is fined £500,000 after health inspectors discovered mouse droppings and dead mice throughout rodent-infested UK restaurant that was forced to close

  • Waltham Forest Council took them to court after visiting restaurant in Oct 2021
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McDonald’s has been fined half a million pounds after a customer’s complaint about finding mouse droppings in their cheeseburger uncovered an infestation at one of its restaurants.

The disgusted drive-thru customer complained after tucking into their burger and spotting what appeared to be a mouse dropping on the inside of the food wrapper.

This prompted an investigation by environmental health officers who discovered an out-of-control rodent infestation at the restaurant which posed an ‘imminent risk’ to public health.

The fast-food branch in Leytonstone, east London, was then forced to close its doors that same day.

Officers found the ‘decomposing remains’ of a mouse as well as droppings ‘throughout the premises’ – including in food preparation areas, main cooking areas and hot food holding areas.

The McDonald’s restaurant in Leytonstone, east London, was forced to close after an inspection found an active mouse infestation 

Environmental Health Officers investigated the branch after they received a complaint from a customer who suggested the fast food restaurant was harbouring rodents

The fast-food giant was hauled into court this week by Waltham Forest Council after pleading guilty to three charges relating to hygiene breaches and ordered to pay £500,000 in fines and costs.

Environmental health officers working for Waltham Forest Council visited the restaurant in October 2021 following a complaint from a far-from-satisfied customer.

READ MORE: Mice-infested McDonald’s ordered to close after inspectors found dead mouse in cupboard and droppings in kitchen

The customer, who ordered their food at the drive-thru section of the restaurant, was said to have been ‘halfway through’ eating their cheeseburger when they looked down at the inside of the food wrapper and spotted what they thought was a mouse dropping.

The disgusted customer complained to Waltham Forest Council, which sent environmental health officers to investigate the restaurant – which still retains a 1.5-star rating on Trip Advisor.

The officers discovered conditions at the restaurant which presented ‘a real and imminent risk’ to the health of customers eating there and immediately ordered the restaurant to close – with those sat eating asked to leave halfway through their meals.

Mouse droppings were even found on the floor of the food preparation and main cooking section; in the main cooking area next to a tray of cooking utensils; in the hot holding food preparation area on the main floor; in the staff room; in a storage area and cleaning store cupboard, and even in a box containing a bottle of caramel drizzle drink sauce. 

The horrific hygiene conditions were discovered despite staff having completed paperwork claiming that cleaning schedules had been completed.

The McDonald’s restaurant – of which there are another 1,299 across the UK – remained shut for a period of ten days before officers revisited and were satisfied all issues were resolved and that the restaurant could reopen.

McDonald’s has been fined half a million pounds after Waltham Forest Council brought a case against them. Pictured is the Leytonstone branch

A mouse was found in the storage cupboard of the restaurant during the health and safety inspection

McDonald’s said it was working with pest prevention and taking immediate action after the branch was found to be infested with mice

However, Waltham Forest Council, which is responsible for the restaurant’s food hygiene rating, took legal action against the fast-food giant for the ‘significant risk’ the conditions of the restaurant posed to its customers.

McDonald’s admitted to three charges of hygiene breaches and was ordered to pay a a £475,000fine and £22,000 costs by magistrates at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Councillor Khevyn Limbajee, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said customers should be made to feel confident that their food has been cooked and prepared in a clean and safe environment.

Cllr Limbajee said: ‘We are grateful for the quick thinking of the customer in this case for reporting the matter to the Council for investigation.

‘There was a significant risk posed to the health of residents and visitors to Waltham Forest and as such the Council had no option but to take formal action in this case.

‘McDonald’s is a large and well-experienced food business operator in the fast-food sector who serves thousands of meals per week to its customers, therefore the risk presented at the Leytonstone store was significant.

‘It was appreciated that McDonald’s pleaded guilty and admitted wrongdoing at the first opportunity, however as a Council we take food hygiene seriously and won’t hesitate to follow up complaints and take action where appropriate, irrespective of who operates the food business.

‘Residents and visitors should feel confident and assured that when they check a premises’ food hygiene rating in Waltham Forest, they know their food has been cooked in a clean and safe environment and that we take a zero-tolerance approach to serious hygiene contraventions.’

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