Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

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11Fast Food Employees Reveal Which Menu Items You Should Steer Clear Of

Fast-food workers revealed two weeks ago on Reddit which menu items you should stay away from.

Someone on the site recently asked: “Fast food workers of Reddit, what should we NOT order at your restaurant? Why not?”

A great amount of employees who claim to have worked or are working in the food industry responded. Their claims have not been verified.

Uproxx has compiled a list below of some of the most bizarre items, according to posters, that you should avoid during your next visit to a restaurant chain.

Starbucks' "Secret Menu," from user Stac52"Former starbucks worker here. Please don't order anything off the 'Secret Menu'. It doesn't exist. If you want a snickerdoodle, nuttella, or captain crunch frappuchino (or whatever other overly sugery thing someone has since come out with), know the base drink and the modifications, and order that. If you just say the name, it's up to the barista to come up with what's in the drink, and it may not be what the last barista you ordered from put in there."

McCafe drinks at McDonald’s, according to Reddit user Envirometh: “I work for McDonald’s and make sure everyone that matters to me never orders anything that comes out of the ‘McCafe’ machine as these are routinely neglected, in practically all the McDonalds. Not only are staff not properly trained in its cleaning and maintenance, at almost every McDonalds I’ve had experience with, the managers in charge of training them don’t know...either."

Panera Bread, from user President_Pancake: “Panera- pasta; it’s all microwaved, this includes Mac and cheese. Smoothies/frozen drinks- nasty base crap that smells and it’s sticky. Cupcakes/coffee cakes- all come frozen. Best items are the real sandwhich/ salads. Real ingredients and usually fresh.”

Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready pizza: “Former Little Caesars manager here. Some franchises are different, but I wouldn’t order any Crazy Bread, Jalapeno Bread, or Italian Bread. The shit they dress it with out the oven is NOT butter; it’s some nasty imitation that comes in a huge bottle and does not need to be refrigerated. Also, Hot-N-Readys and Chicken Wings have been known to sit in the warmer for hours at a time until sold.”

Jack in the Box: “Milkshakes at jack in the box if you’re allergic to fruit.

We do not clean the mixer very well, and it’s used for smoothies and milkshakes. Like, we’re TOLD to just half ass it. In the training video. It’s…ridiculous.”

Ballpark hot dogs, from user FreakyCheeseMan: “I used to work in a baseball park concession stand. The short answer is not to order anything, but if you absolutely have to buy something, don't buy the hotdogs.

Do not. Buy. The Hot Dogs.

They made it out of the package okay, and might even have been edible after we finished grilling them - and then they went into the water. We kept three pans of water at the back of the grill that held the hot dogs. Any hot dogs left at the end of the day went back into the fridge, and came out again the next day. Me and the other cook put our feet down on throwing out the water and old hotdogs after two full days, but the management didn't want to let us.”

BBQ Sandwiches at KFC: “Worked at KFC for ~4 years. The BBQ sandwich is actually made from chicken too old and stale to give to the homeless shelters, so they soak it in BBQ sauce until it can be pulled and then they keep it on the heater for a month.”

Olive Garden: “Complementary salad. It’s the only thing in our restaurant that comes 95% premade, with the exception being the tomatoes, which are cut at 8:30am-9am and are expected to last all day. Everything is technically “refrigerated” but the fridge is always left open, since we go through salad so fast.

Chicken anything. We go through chicken really fast, so if a particular kind isn’t thawing fast enough in the walk-in, we leave a whole tray of it sitting underneath an oven (raised oven; it’s not on the floor), sometimes up to 3 hours.

Fried anything. I don’t know how often the frying oil is changed, but judging by the color… ugh. I know it smells rancid.

I don’t know which dishes this comes with, but the potato and pepper mixture, which is fried, will often have pieces of pepper in it that have started to rot. Not growing-mold rotten, but definitely soft-discolored rotten. I don’t do this, but I know every other prep cook at my location does.”

Subway egg and tuna salad sandwiches: “From my experiences, the tuna and egg salad at Subway is just bagged tuna/eggs and a ton of mayo to make it soft.”

Pizza Hut: “Pizza Hut manager: Our dough are processed, frozen discs that we handle WITHOUT gloves. (When I say handle without gloves, I mean handle without washing hands.) It’s a little obvious gloves aren’t magical germ repellents.. our policy is to wash your hands as hot as you can handle for 20 seconds, and then put on food handling gloves. Our policy also makes you wash hands/switch out gloves when starting a new task (going from panning/proofing the pizza to topping pizzas, etc.) Unfortunately this is a Pizza Hut chain that has a bunch of 17-20 year olds working in it and will not obey the rules.

Anyway, we also spray them with non-stick spray and oil the hell out of them. After that, we proof them and top them, again, with our bare hands. (Probably dirty) Sometimes the dough will be really old, 4-5 days at the max where it gets all shrively and sinks down into the pan.”

According to Uproxx, there is a bright side to all of this. Workers from Sonic, In-N-Out, Chick-fil-a, Chipotle and a McDonald’s in Nova Scotia have come forward to say that their restaurants are all sanitary.

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11A Two-Year-Old McDonald's Burger Looks Disgustingly Fresh (Photos)

Think twice before convincing yourself that fast food is a legitimate substitute for a home-cooked meal. An ongoing experiment by Nebraska Dr. Andrew J. Rivera shows just how artificial and processed fast food really is.

When you walk through the door of Dr. Rivera’s Omaha office, you’ll notice a burger and fries displayed on a platform. The food looks pretty fresh – the bread isn’t moldy and the meat isn’t rotten. It looks like a normal McDonald’s meal.

Here’s the kicker: the food is over two years old.

“Our Happy Meal display is meant to show you the differences between fresh, pure food & processed food with additives,” Dr. Rivera said. “You see the ingredients; you make the choices. We do it because we CARE about your family’s health & their relationships with food.”

McDonald’s acknowledges that its food doesn’t rot. The company claims this is because they dehydrate their meats and breads of water. In the absence of water, McDonald’s claims, food won’t rot. But regardless of whether a food is initially dehydrated, it still comes in constant contact with moisture in the atmosphere. Any opened, unsealed food should begin to naturally decompose after a few weeks – let alone a few years. Even beef jerky – another dehydrated food -- goes bad in far less than two years after opening. McDonald’s infinitely fresh burger is a testament to the power of artificial preservatives.

“Eating on-the-go can be just as detrimental to your health as overeating and eating empty calories,” Rivera says. “So this challenge was a way to interrupt your daily patterns & inspire you to stop and take the time to prepare your food (and also taking the time to enjoy eating it!).”

Here are a few pictures of the burger and fries. Remember, the food you’re looking at is older than many people’s children:

happy meal

Sources: Business Insider, eCreditDaily

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11Each Fast Food Meal Raises Your BMI .03, Study Says

The World Health Organization is calling on world governments to make fast food less attractive to citizens after a new study found that every fast food meal a person eats causes their body mass index (BMI) to go up 0.03 points.

BMI is a globally used measurement for obesity based on a person’s weight and height. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, based on this scale.

Researchers in Ireland and the U.S. linked fast food to obesity rates using data on fast-food sales per capita from 1999 to 2008 in high-income countries.

“While the average number of annual fast food transactions per capita increased from 26.61 to 32.76, average BMI increased from 25.8 to 26.4,” researchers reported in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization.

The highest increase in fast-food intake and average BMI were found in Australia, Canada, Ireland, and New Zealand.

“The more aggressive market-liberalized countries have a higher consumption of fast food,” explained study lead author Dr. Roberto De Vogli of the department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

“Unless governments take steps to regulate their economies, the invisible hand of the market will continue to promote obesity worldwide with disastrous consequences for future public health and economic productivity,” De Vogli said.

De Vogli and colleagues from Queens University Belfast and the University of Texas say that government must take responsibility and disincentivize highly-processed fast food production.

“There is no question,” De Volgi added. “Big corporations have a mission to maximize profit. If we hope and expect that profit-driven businesses will safeguard public health, it is pure illusion.”

“The take-home message is that, although free-market policies are not to be demonized, it appears quite clear that in order to fight the obesity epidemic, a stronger role of government intervention is necessary,” he said.

The World Health Organization agrees.

“This study shows how important public policies are for addressing the epidemic of obesity,” said Dr. Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at WHO.

“Policies targeting food and nutrition are needed across several sectors including agriculture, industry, health, social welfare and education,” he said.

Sources: The Independent, NBC New

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11Iowa Biology Teacher Loses 37 Pounds Through McDonald’s Diet (Video)

A high school biology teacher from Ankeny, Iowa, documented the changes his body went through during the three months that he consumed nothing but McDonald’s.

Compared to the man featured in the 2004 documentary “Super Size Me,” who ate at the fast-food chain for a month, John Cisna surprisingly lost 37 pounds and his cholesterol dropped from 249 to 170, KCCI reported.

His low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol,” also dropped from 173 to 113.

Cisna started the diet as an experiment, demonstrating how people can eat anything as long as they stick with daily nutritional limitations of 2,000 calories and stay close to the recommended dietary allowances for nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fat calories and cholesterol.

Cisna’s students planned out his daily meals using McDonald’s online nutritional information, making sure that they follow the nutritional limitations he set out.

During the experiment, Cisna, who says he didn’t exercise or watch his daily calorie intake before, began walking for 45 minutes a day, which was a contributing factor to the results.

When he paid a visit to his local McDonald’s to speak about the experiment, the manager was very interested to see what happens that he agreed to supply 90 days of meals for free.

For breakfast, Cisna would typically have two egg white, a bowl of maple oatmeal and 1 percent milk, and a salad for lunch.

"So this isn't something where you say 'well he went to McDonalds and he only had the salads,’” he said.

For dinner he would eat a value meal such as a Big Mac or a quarter pounder with cheese, and occasionally had ice cream sundaes.

Cisna was significantly healthier by day 90, despite the fast-food diet.

“I tell people not only can I see my shoes now but I can actually tie them,” he said.

According to the Daily Mail, Cisna’s experiment proved his theory that many people have the wrong idea when it comes to being healthy.

“The point behind this documentary is - it's choice. We all have choices,” he said. “It's our choices that make us fat, not McDonald's.”

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11Chicago Sandwich Chain Terminates All Employees Via Email

Employees of a Chicago sandwich chain received an email Sunday night notifying them of their termination, just days before Christmas.

Colorado-based Snarf’s Sub Shop said it was closing its River North location beginning Monday for an “unknown period of time” for remodeling, and that 20 of its employees would be fired the same day.

According to Mercury News, the workers were told their severance paychecks would be given to them on the Friday after Christmas and said to “keep an eye out for the grand opening of the new store.”

"We really regret our employees were given last-minute notice, but they were aware of the loss of business during the past year," Jill Preston, Snarf's director of marketing, said in a phone call to The Huffington Post.

Preston says the store will undergo a redesign as a burger joint like one of their Colorado locations. She also says the company couldn’t keep its employees or temporarily lay them off since a date for the re-opening wasn’t set.

Preston said the closing comes “at a really bad time” but “our location there is suffering” because of the increase in company cafeterias in the building and competition from food trucks close by.

"It was prudent to shut down [on Dec. 23] because we don't have a lot of business during that time," Preston said. The company's second location in the Chicago Loop buisiness district is unaffected.

The closures and firings come three weeks after Snarf’s employees joined a nationwide strike by fast food workers demanding higher wages and better benefits, according to Chicago Grid, which obtained the email.

Preston told the Grid that the termination did not have any relation to the strike.

“This is something we've had planned for awhile,” Preston said of the remodel that employees were not informed of before the emails were sent Sunday.

Worker’s Organizing Committee of Chicago and supporters came together outside of the closed restaurant, calling for the workers to get severance pay or their jobs back.

Preston says the workers should reapply for their old jobs as soon as the new restaurant is up and running.

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11McDonald’s Advises Employees Not To Eat At Fast-Food Chain (Video)

McDonald’s recently posted health tips on its website for employees, advising them that they should not consume fast food, even the kind they serve at the chain restaurants.

"Fast foods are quick, reasonably priced, and readily available alternatives to home cooking. While convenient and economical for a busy lifestyle, fast foods are typically high in calories, fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt and may put people at risk for becoming overweight," reads one post on the site, which depicts a hamburger and fries, two items that the fast-food giant specializes in selling, according to CNBC.

Another post shows a cheeseburger and fries meal, labeling it as the “unhealthy choice,” while another approves of a submarine sandwich and salad as the “healthier choice.”

“It is hard to eat a healthy diet when you eat at fast-food restaurants often,” according to the post, which warns people who eat fast-food to watch how many burgers and fries they take in. “In general, people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease must be very careful about choosing fast food because of its high fat, salt, and sugar levels.”

The tips about eating more healthy foods are the latest in a series of blunders involving the company’s website.

Last month, the company posted a guide for how much the chain’s minimum-wage workers should tip their au pairs and personal trainers. McDonald’s told CNBC the posts were content provided by a third-party and said it would “continue to review the resource and will ask the vendor to make changes as needed.”

A separate post provided tips on how employees could save money during the holidays by returning unopened Christmas presents for cash and spending no money for heat.

McDonald’s defended the posts in a statement issued Monday, saying: "Portions of this website continue to be taken entirely out of context. This website provides useful information from respected third-parties about many topics, among them health and wellness. It also includes information from experts about healthy eating and making balanced choices. McDonald's agrees with this advice."

USA Today reported that at its annual shareholder meeting in May, McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson also defended his company’s food, saying, “We don’t sell junk food.”

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11McDonalds Employees Must Work Four Months of Overtime to Earn What CEO Makes In One Hour, Report Says

A recent financial analysis reveals that a minimum-wage McDonald’s employee must work four months of overtime to earn what the company’s CEO makes in one hour.

The analysis, compiled by financial information company NerdWallet, examines the financial discrepancies between employees and CEOs of major companies. The report outlines the wage ratio between workers and CEOs of 10 major retail and fast food corporations, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Wal-Mart.

According to the report, the CEOs earn 874 times more per hour than the average sales associate at their company.

The analysis assumes the average salary for a McDonald’s worker is about $7.73 per hour, although official figures for the company are not publicly available, reports the Huffington Post.

By comparison, the CEO of McDonald’s earns approximately $9,247 per hour.

NerdWallet calculates that it would take a McDonald’s employee approximately 3.86 months of overtime — or 1.5 times the normal pay rate — to earn what the CEO makes in a single hour.

According to Dana Lime, a senior analyst at NerdWallet and author of the report, a fast food employee working full-time still won’t come close to a CEO’s earnings.

“A lot of these companies are paying minimum wage or very slightly above that, and the disturbing fact is that even if a worker works 40 hours a week for a month, they’re never going to get close to what the CEO makes for one hour alone,” she said.

McDonald’s representatives commented that its employees are offered many opportunities for growth in the company, and that its minimum wage workers often work up the corporate ladder.

“McDonald’s offers competitive pay, benefits, and flexible schedules to employees,” said company spokesperson Heidi Barker Sa Shekhem, according to the Huffington Post. “We provide training and professional development for all of those who wish to take advantage of those opportunities.”

More than 50 percent of fast food workers nationwide rely on government assistance, the Huffington Post adds.

An outline of the report from NerdWallet can be seen below.

Souces: NerdWallet, Huffington Post

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11Corporate Welfare: Fast Food CEOs Cost Taxpayers $64 Million With Obscure Tax Loophole

While workers in his company’s fast-food joints get paid so little that they are forced to use $650 million worth of Medicaid every year, the CEO of the company that owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut personally cost taxpayers about $33 million in corporate welfare.

Yum! Brands CEO David Novak (pictured, leading a corporate pep rally) raked in $94 million in so-called “performance pay” over the past two years — and more than one-third of that was subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

In fact, using the little-discussed, two-decade-old “performance pay” tax loophole, top execs at the six major fast food corporations were showered with a combined $183 million in 2011 and 2012, costing the taxpayers $64 million.

Based on the average amount received by American families who need SNAP benefits, or food stamps, that taxpayer subsidy to the fast food bosses could have provided food assistance for 40,000 families for a year.

Basically, the loophole works like this. About 20 years ago, congress placed a $1 million limit on the amount of executive pay that qualified for a tax deduction. But under the guise of encouraging executives to do their job well, they allowed an exception for supposedly “performance-based” bonuses — stock options, for example.

So what happened? Corporations began doling out stock options to their top execs in huge quantities, costing taxpayers hundreds of millions in lost tax revenue every year.

Now a study by Sarah Anderson, of the Institute of Policy Studies’ Global Economy Project, has detailed how that loophole lets fast food execs collect whopping paychecks at taxpayer expense.

Anderson said that she concentrated solely on fast food companies because the low wages paid in that industry to rank-and-file workers who keep the actual restaurants humming are so low that they cost taxpayers about $7 billion per year in necessary public assistance to the underpaid employees.

Meanwhile, fast food CEOs feed at the public trough for their personal, yearly bonuses.

“There’s this myth out there that America is broke, and we have no choice except to slash spending on food stamps and Social Security,” Anderson told the online magazine Salon. “On the contrary, we are a very rich country. And we have too many loopholes like this that really distort our economy, and put too much of our resources into the pockets of those at the top.”

SOURCES: Salon, Institute For Policy Studies, Bill Moyers

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11Restaurant Manager Fired After Photo of Her Preparing Food Sweaty and Barefoot Goes Viral

Melinda Halvorsen, manager of a Taco John’s restaurant in Charles City, Iowa, is without a job today after an angry customer posted a revealing photo of her online.

“This is in Charles City Iowa Taco John’s!!” wrote Danielle Tiesmessen in the caption of the Facebook post containing this shocking photo. “This woman was preparing food with bare feet, no uniform, her bra and chest hanging out all over the place, she was pouring sweat, wiping it off with her hands and not washing them. I asked for the manager — she WAS the manager!! She was extremely rude because I was upset with her appearance and behavior.”

Reports claim that Halvorsen, 31, who has been employed with the restaurant for five years, had just mowed the grass outside of the building during her shift before she went back inside to make food for herself and her friends.

Franchise owner Linda Johnson became aware of the incident after Taco John’s Facebook page exploded with angry posts from displeased customers. The photo that Tiesmessen posted on Facebook had gone viral and started a frenzy of attention from media and people all over.

Halvorsen was fired after Johnson reviewed the surveillance video in the restaurant and determined that the manager was in the wrong. Halvorsen tried to file for unemployment but was denied because officials determined she hurt the restaurant’s business and violated health and safety codes.

Johnson says her restaurant has suffered as a result of the incident, claiming that business is down over 25 percent since the incident back in August.

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11Not Enjoying Life? You May Be Looking At Too Many Fast Food Logos, New Study Says

Feeling restless? Dissatisfied? Unhappy? Does the wonder of nature leave you cold? Does beautiful music bore you?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may be a victim of fast food culture. In fact, a new study finds, you don’t even have to eat at McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Jack In The Box or Taco Bell.

All you have to do is look at fast food advertising and you start feeling edgy and down.

The study comes out of the University of Toronto and is titled, “Too Impatient to Smell the Roses: Exposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness.”

The name pretty much says it all. Merely being reminded to think about fast food gets in the way of your ability to enjoy life, the study, involving three separate tests consisting of 659 people, has found.

"We’ve built up these associations of speed and instant gratification with fast food. So even subtle reminders of these products make us want to get through things quicker,” said the paper’s lead author, researcher Sanford E. DeVoe, a Stanford Ph.D. who is Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at UT’s Rotman School of Management. “Exposure to fast food makes us more impatient, and this can impact our experience of moments in which we stop to smell the roses.”

The first of the three experiments studied people who lived in areas with a high density of fast food joints and their flashy, enticing logos. DeVoe and his fellow researchers found that these people became impaired in their ability to savor life experiences. In other words, the more fast food signs you see, the more impatient with life you get.

The next test involved subjects looking at a series of photographs — supposedly to rate their effectiveness as advertising — then immediately recording their level of happy feelings. One group viewed photos of fast food and fast food restaurant logos.

A second group looked at the same fast food photos, but followed that up with a series of photographs depicting scenes of unspoiled nature.

Some of them viewed both sets of photos.

While the people who looked at nature photos reported feeling happier, the subjects who looked at nature photos after looking at fast food shots reported less happiness than those who viewed the nature photos alone.

Finally, the researchers did basically the same test again, except this time letting subjects listen to a beautiful piece of classical music instead of viewing nature photos. The results were similar.

The people who looked at fast food photos grew bored of the music more quickly than those who didn’t, and also reported lower levels of happiness.

DeVoe hopes that once people understand the effect their fast-food saturated environment has on them, they’ll be able to fight the urge to speed through life without enjoying what the world has to offer.

“Fast food is so pervasive. You’re just driving to work and are bombarded by signs and advertisements for it,” said DeVoe. “It’s a real, real challenge. But hopefully having an awareness of this effect can give you greater ability to check yourself.”

SOURCES: The Province, Pacific Standard Magazine, Social Psychological and Personality Science

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