Sarah Douglas still remembers the tingling sensation in her mouth after she ordered what she thought was a latte at the west side McDonald’s on Sunday morning.
“I had no idea what I was drinking,” Douglas said. “I just knew it wasn’t coffee and it tasted like chemical.”
Douglas purchased a latte, pulled onto the highway to head to Medicine Hat with her children and she instantly knew something was wrong as soon as she took the first sip.
“I threw my hazard lights on, pulled into the ditch and spit it out. I grabbed some water that was in my car and I swished my mouth out,” she added.
Douglas, who is eight months pregnant with her third child, immediately worried that she’d put her unborn baby at risk.
She returned to McDonald’s to find out what she’d ingested. Once she arrived, she spoke to a supervisor and another employee.
“She actually went around the corner to look at the latte machine as well and noticed that there was two hoses coming out of the machine and going into this chemical,” said Douglas.
Dan Brown, the franchise owner, issued this statement to Global News:
“Since learning about the complaint, our team has been in very close contact with the guest and apologized to her. The health inspector also visited my restaurant and is not investigating further.
McDonald’s is renowned for its food safety protocols and I am sorry that this happened in my restaurant here in Lethbridge.
What happened is that the machine was being cleaned — as it is every morning. Unfortunately, the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made.
We have taken immediate action to review the proper cleaning procedures with the team and have put additional signage up as an added reminder.”
Dan Brown, Franchisee, McDonald’s Lethbridge
Alberta Health Services did confirm to Global News the incident had been reported and issued a statement:
“AHS Environmental Public Health was informed about an incident that took place Sunday at a West Lethbridge restaurant. We are investigating the complaint at this time.”
Douglas phoned poison control immediately after she returned to McDonald’s and has since met with her doctor.
She said she has only heard from one local manager from the McDonald’s and has yet to be contacted by the owner or anyone at the corporate level.
She hopes this experience reminds all restaurants of the importance of staff training, fearing this could happen to an unsuspecting child.
“This needs to be more than a slap on the wrist,” Douglas said. “We need to take it more seriously when we are dealing with food handling, I mean, to put a lid on something that doesn’t look like a latte, that should be your first indication.”