What Not to Eat at Fast Food Restaurants

The great thing about living in New York is that it’s very easy to avoid fast food restaurants, because there are so many options for cheap take-out (i.e. bodegas!), or a pizza joint around the corner where you can get a slice for few bucks or less. Unfortunately, for a lot of Americans, fast food chains have become one of the only low-cost, quick and easy options. This Reddit thread has a very fascinating list of things you should avoid at fast food restaurants, according to people who work in them, for example: ice! Did you know that the ice in the soda machines are possibly contaminated with mold because the machines aren’t cleaned properly? Also: grilled chicken! Also: Everything.

Photo: Flickr/stefou!

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13 Comments / Post A Comment

avoid the sweet tea: it’s full of sugar! Don’t be fooled by its misleading name!

KatNotCat (#766)

@Jake Reinhardt I want to be warned about restaurants that *don’t* put sugar in their iced tea.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

Great. I was all ready to go get a healthy tabouli sandwich for lunch and now I want to find a double bacon cheeseburger. You will be the death of me, Mike Dang.

KatNotCat (#766)

The ice machine is an issue at a lot of restaurants, including the little pizza joint round the corner. Boyfriend is a restaurant manager–ice machines are a pain in the ass.
It’s more of a general cleanliness issue than a fast food thing, so you still might want to be aware of the cleanliness standards at your favorite place.

probs (#296)

While it is fun to support less chain-y, more interesting things, you’re not likely to be better off on the healthy food/sanitary conditions front at the bodega or corner pizza joint, would be my guess.

DickensianCat (#971)

@probs exactly. There are unsanitary conditions in 4-star caliber restaurants too, and a friend who used to work at McDonalds told me that when she was there they actually had quite stringent health and saftey checks on a regular basis. There are always exceptions, but I would sooner trust a chain restaurant than an unfamiliar deli or bodega around here, that’s for sure.

Fried rice at chinese restaurants is re-cooked white rice. Whatever is left over from the night before and whatever looks untouched from tables. So when I found this out as a busboy, I started dumping all the leftover sauces in the rice so they didn’t reuse it.

KatNotCat (#766)

@forget it i quit I doubt that stealing table scraps is true for “Chinese restaurants” as a whole, but frying already cooked rice is *exactly* how fried rice is always made. If you make it a home, you either use leftover rice or you have to cook and chill rice for a few hours, then fry it. Turning unused white rice from the night before into fried rice is not strange or unsanitary.

Megano! (#124)

@forget it i quit Well, it’s supposed to be, but that they were using the stuff from the tables that were half eaten is pretty gross.

Yeah didn’t mean to imply reused white rice is bad. It was the reuse of returned white rice that was. According to the waiters there, this was a common practice in a few of the restaurants they worked at.

Megano! (#124)

I would personally avoid anything that sits around in a machine. I worked at Canada’s quintessential coffee joint when I was 16, and one night it was super slow and I was like, “I”ll clean the iced capp machine I don’t think I’ve seen anyone do it.” AND BOY WAS I RIGHT. There was definitely mould in there, as well as a cup and other detritus. It was disgusting. I don’t think I had another iced capp for 5 years. Actually, I don’t know if I’d had one at all since then?

phenylalanine (#717)

@Megano! Ahhhhh! That’s terrifying! I used to work as a barista in a bookstore (Books-A-Million for the curious) and we would clean that sucker every single night. It was my least favorite chore because we had such a tiny sink, but I think now I see the value in it. D:

Targaryen (#761)

I love these kind of conversations because now I’ve worked at two different fast food places (Wendy’s and Subway) for quite some time, and I love dispelling myths.

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