No reason to close Fairfield McDonald’s over blood, says health director

FAIRFIELD — Drops of blood on a food wrapper and a biscuit have some parents up in arms, but Health Department officials say there is no reason to close the McDonald’s on Black Rock Turnpike.

“It does happen, it’s unfortunate,” Health Director Sands Cleary said Tuesday, but he said it appears proper procedure was followed when the employee realized she had scraped her knuckle, drawing some blood.

The uproar on Facebook happened when word spread of the incident, reported to police and the Health Department Monday. A man was there with his sons, and they spotted what appeared to be blood on one of their food wrappers, and on a biscuit. A Health Department inspector said the father described it to her as “a speck and a drop.”

After discovering the blood on the inside and outside of the wrapper,the man brought it to the attention of the manager. He said he told the manager he needed to know if “someone was cut and if their blood got into the food that my kids were eating.”

The father told the Fairfield Citizen that a female employee came to the front counter, wearing a latex glove on her left hand. “I did not see any obvious signs of bleeding or any type of puncture or breech to the gove she was wearing, but thought it strange that she was wearing only one glove,” he said. She allegedly said she wasn’t bleeding, but when she took the glove off “It was then that I saw blood around the entire bed of one of her fingers that was blood.”

He said the manager apologized immediately and said the employee did not teel him that she had cut herself.

One of the children apparently ate his entire breakfast sandwich before his dad realized there was blood on the wrapper. The other son didn’t eat all of his food, but there was a drop of blood on he biscuit, according to the parents.

Cleary said the man reported the incident to the Health Department about an hour after it occurred. Inspectors went to the fast food restaurant and met with both the manager and the employee. She told them she scraped her knuckle on a piece of equipment, and did not realize it was bleeding when she wrapped the order. When she later discovered her knuckle was bleeding, Cleary said, she bandaged the cut and put on a fresh pair of gloves.

“We reviewed procedures and policies,” Cleary said, adding the department has not received any other complaints from other customers. “It was an accident. We train people on how to prevent this, but it happens.”

He said he believes this was just an isolated incident and said that McDonald’s has very rigorous standards, tossing food after 20 minutes if not sold, and provides an extensive training program. That McDonald’s last inspection was Aug. 25, 2017, when they received a score of 95 out of a possible 100 points. Their next inspection is due next month, Cleary said.

“If we had gotten 10 different calls about blood on food, it would’ve been a different response,” Cleary said. He said in this case, the evidence seems to support that proper procedure was followed when the blood was discovered. “They (McDonald’s) aren’t shy about throwing food out,” Cleary said.

Herman Espinoza, a manager at the restaurant, said the Health Department came out and checked on both restaurant and the employees, and reviewed procedures when someone gets cut. He said people should not be concerned about eating at the Black Rock Turnpike location.

The children’s father said while he doesn’t believe the employee intentionally bled on the food and wrappers, “I do believe she was negligient in how she handled the food and treated and cleaned her wound after obviously being aware that she was cut.” He said video surveillance would be able “prove or disprove my claim of negligence and I would hope that McDonald’s would be will to share that footage so that this issue could be resolved.”

He said he will hold the employee, the franchise owner, and the McDonald’s corporation as a whole, until he knows with “full certainty that my children have not been infected by this employee’s negligence and the corporations failure to train their employees propertly in situations such as these.”

On the Moms of Fairfield Facebook page, the child’s mother posted about her ex-husband’s trip to McDonald said the employee flipped her hand around, and trying to hide the cut, and that manager lied to her husband. The employees all came out, she said when her ex-husband “blew up.” and it was then that he saw one had a cut on her finger. She said her children will have blood tests done now, and again in six months. She posted that her children “possibly ate contaminated blood.”

Meanwhile, members of the group posted comments ranging from calling for the “stupid (expletive)” to be fired, and another suggesting that if the incident is simply classified as an accident, “The place needs to be ‘accidentally’ closed down in that case.” One post said the employee needs to be tested for HIV, and hepatitis, and others recounted their experiences at the Black Rock Turnpike location and questions about its cleanliness.

Posters asked if OSHA had been notified of the accident, and one said it needs to be closed, thoroughly inspected for disease control and sterilized.