Roaches, urine reported at fast food playscapes

KSAT Defenders investigate fast food playscape cleanliness


SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio dad is left with a bad taste in his mouth after a recent visit to a McDonald's where he claims to have seen four roaches inside the Play Place area.

"I seen one roach at first and I thought, 'Oh well, maybe it's an accident,' but then I seen two roaches, then I seen a third roach, then four," said McDonald's customer Jesse Barron.

Barron was eating at the McDonald's at the corner of Roosevelt and Southwest Military with his kids when it happened.

"The thought of seeing them crawling around by my kids' food is crazy," Barron said.

The Defenders wanted to know if it was an isolated incident, so we they checked out the Play Place.

There were no roaches, but there were a couple of dead crickets.

A week later, a live beetle was found squirming around under a booth.

Metro Health reported no roach sightings at their visit. However, Sanitation Services Manager Stephen Barscewski said a bug-free restaurant is not too much to expect.

"We're looking for zero, although we do see them. We work with the facilities to prevent them because they do spread disease," Barscewski said.

The Defenders broadened the playscape search, requesting health inspection reports for four locations each from Chick-fil-A, Burger King, and McDonald's.

Not one of the four Chick-fil-A locations had any play area issues and overall, they had very few -- if any -- demerits at each location.

Three Burger King playscapes came back clean, but the one in the 5200 block of DeZavala was advised to do a thorough cleaning of the childrens' play area.

Only one of the other three McDonald's locations had no play area recommendations. The Southwest Military location report revealed a complaint that a child urinated on the jungle gym and it was dripping all over the floor.

"Urine ... sitting around is going to start growing bacteria and smell," Barscewski said.

Metro Health insists proper washing, rinsing and sanitizing in all areas of a restaurant is critical.

In response, McDonald's writes, "Absolutely nothing is more important than operating safe, clean restaurants. We take matters concerning the cleanliness of our restaurants and especially our PlayPlaces very seriously. We strive to ensure our restaurant managers and employees are fully trained in restaurant and PlayPlace sanitation. We inspect PlayPlace surfaces frequently during each shift to check for food spills, trash, and overall cleanliness, and thoroughly clean all PlayPlace equipment and surfaces every day. We require all of our restaurants to be in full compliance with local, state and federal regulations as well as adhere to our own stringent standards. As always, we will continue to work closely with our local health department partners to ensure the continued operation of clean, safe restaurants and PlayPlaces."

To check out local fast food chains in your neighborhood, visit www.sanantonio.gov/health and read all the latest health inspection reports.