McDonald's UK Had To Apologize After This Gross Burger Discovery

The Johnson family had just acquired their bounty of meals from a McDonald's in Stoke-on-Trent. They drove away and parked to enjoy the food. "I was breaking my burger up into little pieces," Britney Johnson recalled when speaking with The Daily Mirror, "and because of that I thought it was a crumb in my burger box." Upon further inspection, however, Johnson discovered that the crumb was in fact a snail shell. Apparently, a snail had slipped, possibly on the lettuce of the burger.

Fortunately, Britney Johnson did not swallow the shell. Even more fortunately, it had ended up in her meal and not the food for her 11-month-old baby. So, after some surprise explanations and – we imagine – exclamations, the family returned the meal to the McDonald's restaurant. The staff apologized profusely and offered to refund the £18 (about $24) spent on the meal and replace it with a non-snailed one.

A McDonald's spokesperson reached out to The Daily Mirror to reaffirm that such contaminations were exceedingly rare: "We place great emphasis on quality control and follow rigorous standards in order to avoid any imperfections." Such reassurances will probably have to go a long way before Britney Johnson returns to the chain though: "I was mortified. I eat McDonald's quite a bit – and this has put me off." 

This is not the worst pest appearance for McDonald's

When you operate a global brand like McDonald's, there is a chance that a stray snail tucked in some lettuce will sneak past an inspection. But McDonald's has dealt with what some would call an even more dramatic story that, depending on how you view such matters, could really put the snail issue into perspective.

In November, another McDonald's based in the United Kingdom made the news. A spokesperson for the chain informed The Sun that an outlet in East London would have to close after an incident involving maggots falling from the ceiling. They were all over the floor and a few allegedly fell into one customer's meal.

This incident in turn occurred within the context of another McDonald's outlet in East London that had a dead mouse in a storage area and mouse droppings on various surfaces (per Metro). "We know McDonald's does have a good record for cleanliness which is why these cases are so rare," a spokesperson said at the time, noting that the last dead mouse incident was apparently in 2016.