How clean is your favorite fast food restaurant?

| 12/21/2007

Most truck drivers don’t have a lot of options when it comes to their food choices, so many choose fast food because of the convenience factor – it’s quick and easy and they can get back on the road.

If you frequent fast food restaurants, you might want to take a look at the list provided below to find out how your favorite fast food chain ranks as far as cleanliness. The ranking is based on an undercover NBC “Dateline” investigation titled, “Dirty Dining?” which takes a look at the health inspection reports of the top 10 fast food chains in the United States.

According to the “Dateline” investigation, the biggest 10 chains have 75,000 restaurants. They hired a survey company to choose a sample of 100 restaurants from each chain – 1,000 in all in 38 states. The investigators then collected local health inspection reports for the last year and a half on each of those 1,000 restaurants.

The ranking of the top 10 fast food chains was based on the number of critical violations issued by health inspectors to restaurants based on health violations that could result in food becoming contaminated.

Here’s the list.

10. Taco Bell – 91 critical violations – including dirty food preparation counters and rodent droppings.

9. McDonald’s – 136 critical violations – including not having a certified food handler on the job as required in many states.

8. KFC – 157 critical violations – incidents include salmonella poisoning, according to the health department report at one location.

7. Subway – 160 critical violations – including a recurring problem with improper food holding temperatures.

6. Jack in the Box – 164 critical violations – including several complaints of food-borne illness at a Ventura, CA, location.

5. Dairy Queen – 184 critical violations – including citations for grime, debris and inaccurate thermometer.

4. Hardees – 206 critical violations – including repeated violations for the presence of insects and rodents.

3. Wendy’s – 206 critical violations – including food holding temperatures, mice droppings and bare hand-food contact.

2. Arby’s – 210 critical violations – including improper hand-washing and employees handling ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands.

1. Burger King – 241 critical violations – including improper hand-washing, uncovered food in the refrigerator, and grime and debris found on the ice chute.

– By Clarissa Kell-Holland, staff writer