The Cuyahoga County Board of Health said Wednesday that no other food had been contaminated at the Burger King in Mayfield Heights after a photo was posted Friday on the internet depicting a restaurant employee standing in two bins of lettuce.
Three Burger King employees were fired in connection with the incident, Burger King’s corporate office said.
Dave Covell, the Deputy Director of Environmental Health for the county board of health, said the store’s management found more than just the two lettuce bins affected.
Covell said the store threw out all of the affected food on Saturday morning. None of the lettuce was served to anyone, nor have any illnesses been reported, he said.
The board of health received an e-mail on Tuesday morning about the photo and visited the store that afternoon.
“It shows you really have to be on your game all the time because you could have an employee that does something stupid like that,” Covell said. “Luckily, Burger King had a nice quality assurance program, so that in the morning, they would look at the product. So that worked out well.”
According to a Cleveland Scene.com report, the photo went viral after appearing on 4Chan, an internet bulletin board. Posters on the site tracked the photo to the Mayfield Heights Burger King using the photo’s embedded GPS data.
Burger King released a statement Wednesday acknowledging the incident:
“Burger King Corp. is aware of a photo that shows a Burger King restaurant employee violating the company’s stringent food handling procedures. Food safety is a top priority at all Burger King restaurants and the company maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations such as the one in question.
“The restaurant where this photo was taken is independently-owned and operated by a Burger King franchisee. The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and has terminated the three employees involved in the incident.”
Despite the quick resolution to the food’s potential contamination, Covell still finds the incident troubling but with a silver lining.
“Sadly, some employees think they can do some stuff like that. And really, it’s kind of good that the Internet has the ability to track that down,” Covell said.