By Alex Lippa
---- — DERRY — Just after midnight on Saturday, Derry police Officer Rob Moore did what he does once a week. He went to McDonald’s on Crystal Avenue during his break to grab a bite to eat.
But this time was different.
Moore ordered a double Quarter Pounder, but after taking a few bites, he thought it tasted funny. He looked inside the bun and saw why: One of the two patties was completely raw.
“It was absolutely disgusting,” Moore said yesterday. “I just couldn’t believe what I was just served.”
He doesn’t believe the raw meat was an accident. He thinks it was deliberate.
“I was the only one in the drive-through line and I was in full uniform,” Moore said. “After I pulled up to the window, the teenager there gave me a look. I don’t really believe this was just an accident.”
When Moore got home after his shift a couple of hours later, he started to get sick.
“Everything was green when I got home,” he said. “I had nausea and was vomiting all night. I couldn’t sleep and I was sick all day Saturday.”
That night, Moore called McDonald’s and asked to speak to the manager.
“He pretty much apologized to me and was sorry for what they had offered me,” he said. “They offered to give me a tour of the kitchen, but they didn’t offer me anything else. I wasn’t happy with that conversation.”
Later that day, he received a phone call from Emile Haddad, the owner of the McDonald’s franchise.
“It was more of the same,” Moore said. “He was sorry for what had happened. He told me the procedure for cooking a burger, which seemed pretty foolproof to me. They told me they had this video and the kid knew it wasn’t cooked. Then they said they were looking to fire the kid who made the burger for unsafe food practices.”
Haddad yesterday would not say whether there had been any disciplinary action against an employee.
“We take matters regarding food safety and quality very seriously,” Haddad said. “We are currently investigating this matter and working to resolve any potential issues.”
Derry Health Officer Paul Raiche said he spoke to Haddad shortly after hearing about the incident.
“There is nothing about this which indicates that this is an ongoing issue,” Raiche said. “This is a one case situation and scenario as far as I can see.”
Raiche said he does inspections at McDonald’s twice a year.
“I have a huge amount of confidence that McDonald’s has good quality procedures,” he said. “If anything happens like this again, I would be very surprised.”
Raiche said he had only gotten two complaints about McDonald’s in recent years, both having to do with the cleanliness of the playground.
“I can’t remember one complaint from there about the food,” he said.
Moore said he has never encountered a problem at McDonald’s.
“I go there all the time,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”
But Moore said it was peculiar that this would happen to him.
“I find it very odd that someone who works at McDonald’s doesn’t know how to cook burgers,” he said. “It seems fishy to me.”
He said he is usually careful about what he eats and drinks.
“If I’m doing a traffic detail and someone hands me a coffee, I’m not going to drink it,” he said. “Who knows what someone could put in it?”
Moore said he is also considering legal action against McDonald’s.
“They assured me this wouldn’t happen again,” he said. “But I’m still unhappy. I can’t believe someone would do that to a person.”