Pregnancy is often a stressful period in a woman’s life. For 32-week pregnant Canadian Sarah Douglas, it became even more so after she was served cleaning fluid in a latte at a McDonald’s in Lethbridge.
Sarah Douglas stopped at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Alberta, Canada and immediately realized something was wrong after she took a sip and noticed a chemical taste. She spat out the drink immediately and noticed the liquid was a brownish color and smelled strongly like chemicals. The taste was a “coffee systems cleaner,” which is intended to remove milk residue and can cause allergic reactions to the skin or irritate skin, among other issues if ingested. It comes with a lengthy warning label.
A 32 week pregnant woman in Lethbridge, Sarah Douglas, says she was served cleaning fluid when she ordered a latte at McDonald’s in Lethbridge. Owner Dan Brown-Unfortunately the milk supply line was connected to the cleaning solution while this guest’s drink was made. Photo: LNN pic.twitter.com/takA8VCa3K— Hal Roberts 🇨🇦 (@Hal__Roberts) August 1, 2018
When she returned to the restaurant, Douglas was told the latte machine’s supply line was connected to the cleaning solution. She, fortunately, didn’t swallow any of the solution and was therefore fine after being cleared by doctors. However, there was a real risk of contamination and danger to Sarah Douglas and her 7-month old unborn baby.
Other than unsafe chemicals like cleaning solutions, many foods and beverages can harm pregnant women, including high-mercury and raw fish, excessive caffeine, unpasteurized milk and cheese, and alcohol.
Since receiving the news and launching an investigation, 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
While Sarah Douglas is safe, it’s up to you, the consumer, to ensure your safety when eating out, especially if you’re pregnant. Avoid dangerous foods and patronize businesses with good safety records. There’s no way to ensure your food will be handled correctly–so be vigilant.