Weekly Wonder: How many health violations does McDonald’s have?

By Katharine Swindells
BU News Service

BOSTON – Despite the fact that McDonald’s is one of the largest fast-food chains in the world – with over 36,000 locations across over 100 countries – restaurant inspections over the last two years show a stark variation in the cleanliness of outlets in Boston alone.

Data from the Boston City Department of Inspectional Services shows almost 125 violations across seven Boston McDonald’s locations between 2018 and 2019, with infractions varying from cluttered cupboards to live roaches, rat droppings and mold. 

The data only showed these locations as having been inspected since January 2018. Lisa Timberlake, a representative for the department, says that every restaurant in the city is inspected at least once a year.

Among the worst offenders is the VFW Parkway location in West Roxbury, which in its July 2019 inspection, had 26 violations, though none of these were ranked as high-level. Inspectors found that the floors, grills and surfaces were dirty. They also found that there was drainage odor in the bathrooms, and evidence of live roaches and rat droppings.

Pests were also found at the 607 Washington St. location downtown, with inspectors recording live roaches and fruit flies. More seriously, they noted that burger patties were being stored at 124 degrees when the required minimum temperature for safe consumption is 140 degrees. They also noted a “sludge-like substance” in the ice machine chute.

The 360 Western Ave. outlet in Brighton faced criticism for staff behavior. Inspectors noted multiple instances of staff handling food without hair restraints and not washing hands frequently. They noted one staff member touched food after touching trash without washing their hands or changing gloves in between tasks.

Explore the interactive map to see how different McDonald’s locations compare around the city.

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