A mouse infestation at a McDonald’s in the London suburb of Leytonstone has cost the company a £475,000 (roughly $592,619) fine.
The fine was levied at the Thames Magistrates’ Court, according to ITV.
In October 2021, Lisa Honeycomb bought a cheeseburger and found mouse droppings partway through eating her food. After a complaint to Waltham Forest Council, staff went to inspect the restaurant.
The infestation at the McDonald’s included a decomposing mouse on a mop head and mouse droppings in the food preparation area. The restaurant was ordered to close.
“McDonald’s is a very reputable company. When customers go to McDonald’s, they expect and have the right to expect the highest standards in food hygiene. This is not some backstreet burger or kebab bar — children go to McDonald’s as a treat,” District Judge Susan Holdham said.
“The premises was dirty, this was built-up grease and dirt caused by non-existent or ineffective cleaning over long periods of time,” she said.
The judge noted that neither restaurant workers or Ecolab, the company hired to deal with rodent issues, reported any dropping or dead mice even though there was what was described as a “mummified” mouse on top of a fryer.
Ian Thomas, who was representing McDonald’s, said the incident led to “great consternation” at the company.
This is not the only time mice have gotten more attention at McDonald’s than the food. In September, a teenager and her mother were at a McDonald’s in Tilbury Essex when they had an unexpected visitor, according to the Daily Mail.
Chloe Thompson, 18, called what she saw a “baby rat.”
Her mother, Kelly Mullin, said the creature was most likely a mouse, but noted that “Chloe was petrified. The rodent was climbing about all over the chairs and tables.”
Her daughter videoed the rodent and then went to tell the staff about it.
“A member of staff just rolled her eyes [at Chloe], and then went and got a bin and was running around chasing it,” Mullin said.
“As they were chasing it about with the bin, the mouse ran towards Chloe. She just screamed and ran out. She won’t be eating McDonald’s for a while, and it’s her favorite,” she said.
The Mail reported that the restaurant said it found no trace of a mouse problem.
McDonald’s and mice are not unique to England. In 2022 Hannah Whittome, 19, of Perth, Australia, battled her local McDonald’s for a refund after she got something extra on food, according to the Daily Mail.
She allegedly found mouse droppings in her partially eaten food she bought at a drive-thru, called the store and got no answer.
“So I decided to go in and confront them about it. The young manager did not handle the situation very well… She was on her phone the whole time apparently messaging the store manager. She brushed it off her shoulder like it was nothing and made me feel quite irrelevant when it was quite a big situation,” Whittome said.
Whittome said she demanded a refund, and was met with an offer of free food, which she declined.
“Even though it was a small piece of poo, it is still poo in your food and can be very toxic and dangerous if ingested,” she said.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.