McBan: McDonald’s Bans Arizona Professor From All Restaurants After She Claims To Find Pathogens in Play Areas

With repeated brawls in McDonald’s, it is would seem that it is pretty hard to be excluded from the restaurant chain. However, Erin Carr Jordan found a way. The mother of four and college professor with a doctorate in developmental psychology, has been leading an effort to get McDonald’s to clean its play area by testing equipment and reportedly finding dangerous levels of pathogens. It is not the first time McDonald’s has been accused of such dangerous levels — made more dangerous by being in proximity to food where the children digest the pathogens.

Jordan, 36, was formally served this week with a letter from a lawyer prohibiting her from setting foot in eight Valley McDonald’s and threatening her with criminal trespassing charges.

She insists that her ban followed her alleged finding antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in the restaurant’s PlayPlace. She complained to the manager and spoke to other parents about the find. She said that the finding of MRSA was so dangerous that she felt had to notify people.

She proceeded to file a complaint with Maricopa County Environmental Services about finding MRSA. However, Johnny Dilone, spokesman for the department, said that an inspector supported McDonald’s after finding no MRSA. Yet, the article below notes “the department does not swab play areas or test for pathogens.” What type of health inspector does not swab for MRSA? I am not sure how you find MRSA with the naked eye.

The letter is from Phoenix attorney James Stipe.

It could be worse for Jordan. The company could allege a disparagement or defamation tort. Such lawsuits are often filed to educate the public and drain defendants. It is a bit more difficult when that person is Oprah Winfrey who was sued by beef companies after saying on the her program that she would not eat beef due to mad cow disease. The Fifth Circuit in Texas Beef Group, et al v. Oprah Winfrey ruled that the claims of Texas cattlemen of disparagement were meritless.

Jordan teaches at the University of Phoenix, Mesa Community College and Kaplan University. Her crusade has covered six states and she has formed a non-profit corporation with a website called Kids Play Safe.

What is most interesting is that she claims that health officials insist that play areas are outside of local food-handling and restaurant cleanliness rules — even though they are connect physically to the restaurant and children move easily from the play area to the tables.

The problem is that there is little deterrent posed by litigation in such circumstances since it is very difficult to link an illness of a child or adult with exposure in the play area of a McDonald’s. There is the possibility of a mass tort for negligence but once again there is the problem in showing the elements, including the uniformity of the contamination. This means that the state health inspector represents the only serious deterrent since federal authority over a state restaurant is equally limited. If the state does not do swaps or other physical testing, it is hard to see how the restaurant faces any meaningful threat of disclosure. With the McBan on Jordan, that threat was just reduced further.

Source: AZ Central

19 thoughts on “McBan: McDonald’s Bans Arizona Professor From All Restaurants After She Claims To Find Pathogens in Play Areas”

  1. Ok, First, Eating at Mc Donalds is a risk at best. If your heart doesn’t clog, your entire body will begin to deteriorate on a diet of Mc Donalds. The government always wants to restrict the things I can put in my body. God for bid I should enjoy a pipe full of weed after dinner but go ahead Mr. jenkins enjoy the poison Mc Donalds sells. It’s been proven to kill you so it’s ok for you to have . No one has proved that smokinh marijuana has any negative affects but it’s illegal. Any body see something wrong with this picture?

    I have been in many of these play areas over the years and most are seething cesspits of urine and disease. The chain does little to nothting tpo control the spread of disease. Their play equiptment is out of reach to all bjut the small children it was designed to kill. These kids as you know are not very picky about what they wipe on the walls, where they urinate and deficate, and baby diapers in the tubes of these places have caused large deposits of feces on the sides and bottom. My children have found them. When my daughter was young I had top take her back home for a bath before continuing our shopping trip because she came out of the ball pit at an older Mc Donalds just covered in someone elses urine. These kinds of facilities are all very well on paper but the reality is that the stores do not take adequate precautions or care of their equiptment.

  2. “She proceeded to file a complaint with Maricopa County Environmental Services about finding MRSA. However, Johnny Dilone, spokesman for the department, said that an inspector supported McDonald’s after finding no [evidence of] MRSA. Yet, the article below notes “the department does not swab play areas or test for pathogens.” What type of health inspector does not swab for MRSA? I am not sure how you find MRSA with the naked eye.”

    ~From the article

    “There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.”

    ~Joseph Heller

    I find faint parallels. Wonder if Mr. Stipe is whistling?

  3. “[T]here aren’t enough tax dollars in the world to protect people from their own stupidity.” — Yeah, what she said! And wash you hands, people!

  4. OK, I’ll jump in. First, a woman with a doctorate in developmental psychology should have enough knowledge to exhibit tact and calmness in reporting her finds, most likely not followed in this case (“complained to the manager and other parents” brings up a displeasing picture). Secondly, she should have reported her conclusions to corporate or the owner of the franchise for more effectiveness. Harassing a “manager” (who is sometimes younger than the fries) is futile.

    As for the “pathogens,” I often wonder how I grew up in a world with such horrid safety and health hazards, which were barely considered in my youth. Yes, children are going to get sick by interacting with other children, but the alternative, a plastic bubble, is frightening. If you are concerned about the germs, I would take hand-sanitizer with me and wipe their hands before and after eating, or order the food and take it home to your pristine kitchen. Not allowing children to use public playgrounds is extreme when there are measures you can take to prevent illness. Lawsuits seem frivolous.

    1. MeryMarjie,
      Yeah that terrible woman, tactlessly attacking an innocent corporation that so believes in sweet living they put sugar in their French fries.

  5. McDonald’s is a public place, open to the public.
    I don’t understand how they can charge her with trespass, unless they convert the place to a private club for members only.

  6. I have long wondered why people take their kids to these sorts of restaurants. Common sense should dictate avoidance.

    Even if the employees cleaned and disinfected the entire area at the end and or beginning of the day, the sheer number of children filing through the door each morning guarantees reinfection within hours, even minutes … digesting pathogens is a given.

    As for birthday parties … it’s not difficult at all to tell a child they can’t attend, especially if they haven’t been allowed to eat in the place at any other time.

    We have had these discussions about fast food chains several times on this blog and my opinion has almost always been in the minority but I’ll state it again … there aren’t enough tax dollars in the world to protect people from their own stupidity.

    I support government regulation in the food industry and I also support individuals taking responsibility for their own stupidity.

  7. If this hits the mainstream media, it could affect McD’s bottom line. We can only hope.

    As for this particular pathogen, MRSA: Hubby had it over the summer. It meant a week of twice-daily ER visits, two surgeries, and four days in hospital, followed by an additional three weeks of twice-daily IV medication at home, with a month of occupational therapy afterward. That is, of course, in addition to the pain, and the underlying fear of amputation, should the antibiotics fail.

    Yep, MRSA’s a nasty one.

  8. “Corporate Conscience” is an oxymoron and their just “lovin it”.

    The “reasonable” person in the capitalist, free-market environment is an amoral sonnabitch. Profits matter, and people don’t unless it affects profits. And the amoral sonnabitches do all they can to create and maintain a disconnect between the two (e.g., the whole impetus of tort “reform” and the legal “do-nothing” concepts in the Professor’s comments).

    Previously, the welfare of the community served in a limited fashion to moderate these tendencies — but when the equity owners are far flung shareholders, who cares? Their only standard is the next quarterly earnings report. I think it is this sense that people and communities matter which permeates the OWS movement.

  9. A reasonable person would think that McDonald’s would have some concern about this and takes steps to deal with the problem if it exists. This would, however, affect their bottom line. In today’s corporate thinking that would be heresy. The bottom line must be preserved at costs, even human health. “Corporate Conscience” is an oxymoron and their just “lovin it”.

  10. A physician friend of mine said that every time he took his kids to a birthday party at one of those places with an indoor playground, they invariably ended up with eye infections. That included McDonald and Chucky Cheese among others. This is a major health problem. Consider this, what if my friend were not a physician and did not recognize the early signs of eye infections? Let an eye infection go untreated too long and it could damage a child’s eyesight.

    After a half dozen or so eye infections, he stopped taking his kids to those kinds of places.

    As for McDonald’s the easy way out is to ban observers. They apparently have not figured out that any researcher has assistants who can gather field data for them. Their only defense is the ‘guilty man’ defense of attacking the one who caught them in the act.

  11. A place you want to eat…..what else need be said…except don’t eat at family style places during the cold and flu season…..kids snotty hands wiping the snotty noses, then getting food and then then you….

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