McDonald's says 'no evidence of pests' after customer's claim of worms in burger; NEA finds no hygiene lapses

Pictures showing what appear to be white worms in the packaging of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.
Pictures showing what appear to be white worms in the packaging of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ANGELA QIQI

SINGAPORE - McDonald's Singapore said it found "no evidence of pests" at its West Coast Park branch, after a customer claimed last week to have uncovered worms in the packaging of her meal.

In a post on Saturday (July 23), Facebook user Angela Qiqi shared videos and pictures of what looked like white worms in the packaging of a Filet-O-Fish sandwich she ordered. The worms appeared to be alive and moving.

After reporting the incident to McDonald's staff, Ms Qiqi claimed that they "didn't even apologise", taking back the meal and offering her a refund to resolve the matter.

In a statement to The Straits Times on Tuesday (July 26), McDonald's said it engaged two independent pest control agencies to inspect the restaurant, and they found no evidence of pests on the premises. McDonald's added that it had been in touch with Ms Qiqi during its internal investigation.

Ms Patricia Yong, director of operations for McDonald's, said: "This inspection is on top of our regular monthly external pest control maintenance and checks.

"Similarly, our packaging suppliers have also conducted their own investigations and have confirmed that the possibility of pests being introduced to the restaurant through the packaging is extremely unlikely as the process of manufacturing and storage involves flat packing and temperatures between 48 – 350 °C."

Given the high temperatures at which its food is prepared, Ms Yong noted that it is "highly unlikely" that larvae or eggs would have survived the cooking process.

She said: "With the information at hand, we do not have conclusive evidence to confirm the origin of the pests."

A National Environment Agency (NEA) spokesman told The Straits Times that it takes a serious view of operators who fail to exercise diligence in ensuring the food they prepare and serve is fit for consumption.

Following an inspection of the outlet, NEA said it did not uncover any hygiene lapses.

The spokesman added: "There were no expired products found, food items were found properly stored, and there were also no signs of pest infestation on the premises."

NEA said it will continue to work with McDonald’s to review their food safety programme. It also reminded the chain to exercise vigilance in upholding high food and personal hygiene standards in all their operations and supply chain.

In October last year, a customer said he uncovered worms in the Big Breakfast set he ordered through the McDelivery service.

NEA found no hygiene lapses at the McDonald's outlet from which the meal was delivered.

McDonald's laboratory results later showed that worms were present in the meal, and were at least two to three days old.