flyA Burger King in Chicago was recently shut down by health inspectors when they found over 200 species of flying bugs all over the place. That's not 200 bugs, that's 200 different kinds of bugs. Imagine thousands of sticky little feet landing on the soda machines, the toilets, the burgers waiting for pick-up, the collective buzz as clouds of winged insects crowd over a dropped French fry. I'll pause now while you shudder in horror.

As grossed-out as I was when I first heard this story, I wasn't at all surprised. I mean really, a fast food restaurant was found to have filthy conditions? I'm shocked, shocked!

Isn't this what we've come to expect from fast food joints? We've just heard about the mom crusading against filthy playlands. If the tables and playground are dirty, it goes without saying that the same conditions apply on the other side of the counter. In fact, it's probably even dirtier in those kitchens.

Here's the scariest part of the story: the Great Winged Infestation of Chicago wasn't discovered by a routine inspection. It was discovered after a concerned customer made a complaint call. Oh wait, actually, the wasp nest found hanging over the back door is equally scary. But my point is, the underfunded city agencies in charge of regularly inspecting restaurants don't have the time or resources to check every restaurant regularly. 

You would think that as industrialized as fast food has become, where food is not so much cooked as re-heated, there would be more time to focus on sanitation. But the opposite seems to be happening. No point lining a sow's ear with silk, right? Sure higher-end restaurants get caught with unsanitary conditions too, but in general, they're usually cleaner. And before we all pile on the employees of this Burger King, I think responsibility goes much higher. Obviously the manager is a slacker. But is anyone at BK Corporate sending out a message to managers and franchise owners that they need to clean up their act?

I already never eat fast food. But who cares what I do. What I'm really wondering is, will other people read about the BK infestation and keep eating at fast food restaurants anyway? Is this something we're ready to face, or do we want to be kept in the dark?

Has the Burger King infestation story turned you off of fast food?


Image via Burning Image/Flickr