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Sewage Backup Doesn't Stop Philadelphia McDonald's From Serving Food


A shiny beacon of cleanliness.
A shiny beacon of cleanliness.

How about a side of raw sewage to go along with that Big Mac? A West Philadelphia McDonald's continued serving food for four days last September "as the stench of backed-up sewage permeated the restaurant," says

Rather than notifying the city of the plumbing problem, the restaurant instead chose to install porta-potties in the parking lot. The Department of Public Health sent out an inspector following a customer complaint and discovered "24 violations, four of which were related to the plumbing." The restaurant was immediately forced to close, and was permitted to reopen a few days later once the plumbing issue had been fixed.

An attorney who specializes in food-borne illnesses tells a sewage back-up is "an outbreak waiting to happen," although thankfully "there is no evidence that any customers or employees got sick" from the incident. The city says it doesn't have the authority to assess any further penalties on the restaurant, such as fines; a McDonald's spokesperson wouldn't comment on any action that may or may not have been taken against the restaurant.

In 2011 a Whole Foods in Miami was hit with an OSHA lawsuit after management ignored a sewage leak that was spilling out into the cheese department. Then again, maybe businesses with plumbing problems should just make lemons out of lemonade and transform the sewage into beer?

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