Now At Dairy Queen: The Worst Food Safety Record In The Industry!

Dairy Queen is the king of food safety violations, according to nationwide health inspection reports. Hygiene issues comprise almost 25% of DQ’s violations; busy employees apparently can’t be bothered to wash their hands or store food at the proper temperature.

Near Denver, for example, an inspector watched an employee “wipe nose, take money,” and continue to prepare food without washing.

Other frequent employee problems included: Employees wiping dirty hands on their pants, then continuing to serve food.

  • Employees handling foods such as burgers and bananas with their bare hands.
  • Employees eating and drinking around food, which spreads germs.
  • At a Phoenix Dairy Queen, an inspector watched a drive-thru employee handling customers’ food with an “open wound,” obviously, a dangerous problem that can spread germs.

    In Orlando, the five Dairy Queens have averaged a whopping 13 critical violations.

    One location, on Curry Ford road was cited for 29 violations. They included:

    • Dead roaches on a table where food is prepared
    • Live roaches around the restaurant
    • Food prep table not cleaned after being in contact with raw food

    Combining low wages with poor training results in an abysmal food safety record? How shocking.

    Dairy Queen — A Chain With Lots of Dangerous Violations [HealthInspections.com via BarfBlog]
    (Photo: lovely lemur)

    Comments

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    1. scoobydoo says:

      And some people wonder how Warren Buffet got so rich?

    2. topgun says:

      This should be obvious if you’ve ever been to a Dairy Queen. Being in the restaurant business I’ve found that establishments with liquor licenses are much cleaner, probably because health citations can get a license taken away. Therefore the solution is if Dairy Queens served alcohol they would probably be much cleaner places. Just a thought.

    3. timmus says:

      In my very small city, Church’s Chicken and Pizza Hut tend to score worst, while the DQ gets good scores. At the local scale, management probably has more to do with the results.

    4. MalcoveMagnesia says:

      Mmmmm. Crunchy dead roach topping for the soft serve.

    5. bsankr says:

      @timmus: Aw man, every single Church’s around here is smack dab in the middle of a ghetto and, predictably, all look like they’re overrrun with flesh-eating bacteria.
      I keep my distance.

    6. SpeedingUptoStop says:

      I work at a DQ, and I gotta say, that’s a bit harsh. I’ll admit, we’re not the cleanest restaurant chain on the block, but that roaches business is purely the result of that one DQ’s shitty condition.

      And yes, the wages are god awful (The training is good enough). If I didn’t love the people working there, I would have found a higher paying job a long time ago.

    7. “Employees handling foods such as burgers and bananas with their bare hands”

      burgers I understand, but bananas? seriously

    8. Scuba Steve says:

      @MalcoveMagnesia: Toppings? Oh not at all my good man. Where do you think those things go at night? That’s right, into the machines where the soft serve is. And then they die. And then you get crunchy goodness mixed right into your daily treat, no toppings necessary.

      I would ask any place when was the last time they totally cleaned the machines. Nightly is the right answer, take the stuff out and wash them, then store it for the night and put it back in come morning.

    9. magus_melchior says:

      @MalcoveMagnesia: Oh, yeah, you think cockroaches are loaded with good protein, but then you hear about their night lives…

    10. ry81984 says:

      The dairy queen by me was run by highschool kids.

      Whe I was in highschool they would always give away free ice cream and always said to never buy the hotdogs and hamburgers.

      I guess the hotdogs and hamburgers would turn green in the freezer because they were very old and they would cook them anyways.

    11. HungryGrrl says:

      @Scuba Steve: dirty towels only!

    12. SkyeBlue says:

      You think fast food restaurants are bad, check out your kids’ school cafeteria sometime! I worked for a school district in the Texas panhandle a few years back and even the ovens were crawling with cockroaches! EWWWWWWWWWW!

    13. Maulleigh says:

      I used to live near a Dairy Queen and it was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO disgusting. They had hand-written signs with their menu on it.

      I ate there anyway.

      More than once.

    14. wring says:

      no wonder the ice cream tastes so good. but srsly their burgers are fuckin awesome.

    15. loueloui says:

      Yuck! I used to live right down the street from the DQ on Curry-Ford road. I must’ve eaten there dozens of times. They were right next to very dingy Krystals. I would’ve bet that the Krystals’ was dirtier, but maybe not. I can remember the employees being generally incompetent, but not nasty. I think I’m gounna be sick.

    16. ludwigk says:

      So, what’s the general consensus? Is a dip cone safe or not? Their softserve is amazing, but I can live without their food.

      The last time I ate at a DQ was almost a year ago. But I think I’m safe because it was in Cardston, Alberta.

    17. othium says:

      I stopped and ate at a Dairy Queen on the way to work last month. I was served by a couple of teens who didn’t really know how to use the card reader. This should have tipped me off that I might be better off buying my snack elsewhere. After an hour or so, I became pretty ill and had to go home.

      Never going to eat at a place where there are minimum wage employees serving again. Probably a good thing too. I’ll save money that way.

    18. @topgun: Being in the restaurant business I’ve found that establishments with liquor licenses are much cleaner, probably because health citations can get a license taken away.

      See? This is why I read Consumerist. You learn something new every day.

      Is this the observation of other commenters who work in food service?

    19. mrearly2 says:

      It’s all junk-food, anyway. If the bacteria on the food doesn’t get you, the lack of nutrition and bad chemicals will.

    20. P.?.L.M. : Fresh startover! says:

      Don’t have any DQ around in Quebec City from what I know… don’t know ’bout the stuf they serve tho I used to work in a McDonald’s while at school and I swear to god the manager there was proud of the restaurant like if it was his own damn house.. got top ratings from McDonald’s Canada something like 3 years in a row for the Quebec City area. Guess the people workin’ in any given restaurant is what makes the real difference.

    21. P.?.L.M. : Fresh startover! says:

      @mrearly2: dude, bad chemicals taste so goooood, just can’t get enough

    22. mobbo says:

      I’ve been eating Dairy Queen since I was a kid. My immune system is stronger because of it.

    23. TedOnion says:

      I sure think the way to make restaurants clean up is to force them all to post the score from their last surprise inspection on every door. No one would eat at a place with a bad score.

    24. wendelion says:

      I’ve been working at a Dairy Queen for over three years and some of the stuff being said is downright pitiful. Dairy Queens, at least in Canada are individually owned and operated, so its not the resturant that is at fault, but the incompetent staff. As a supervisor, if I ever saw anything like that taking place I would come down on people like a ton of bricks. Oh yea! The burgers are amazing, I can’t eat even McDonalds anymore… just so bad.

      @Scuba Steve: And by the way, if they’re following the proper cleaning measures for their machines, they get completely taken apart and cleaned once a week, since it can take up to 4 hours to clean it and getting running again.

    25. JAYEONE says:

      @TedOnion: That’s precisely what they did in Los Angeles County a few years back after a local TV station carried some hidden cameras into a number of restaurant/fast food kitchens. Unbelievable the stuff they found!! Now EVERY establishment that serves food must have a placard in the front window stating the grade they got on their last inspection: A, B, C, etc. I’ll admit…I won’t go into a place with the C placard up.

    26. JAYEONE says:

      @JAY1937: Unfortunately, I don’t LIVE in LA County…just next to it. My county hasn’t seen fit to do such a cool thing yet. :)

    27. MrEvil says:

      I reckon alot of this has to do with most DQ locations being in very rural communities outside the jurisdiction of a city health department that can inspect establishments much more often and can respond to complaints faster. Here in Texas almost every little town with 900 or more people has a DQ. If they’re outside a large city, they only get inspected by the state health department.

      @SkyeBlue: Which school was this at? I know the rural schools barely get inspected since little towns can’t afford their own health department and instead rely on the state to inspect them once in a blue moon. However, in Amarillo the school cafeterias get inspected quite often. My mother when she was an Amarillo Health inspector went to schools in her district at least once a month.

    28. Jon Parker says:

      I lived in a small western town for a while that had a DQ with great fast food, but he refused to buy his product from the corporation and went his own way with his own menu. That was good stuff.

    29. Scuba Steve says:

      @ludwigk: Hand dipped is usually a safe bet, but most DQs are probably ok against bugs. (Just don’t order a hotdog)

    30. Instigator says:

      If I didn’t read Consumerist, I’d never know about Orlando’s filthy fast food joints, which I avoid anyway. The Orlando Sentinel is too busy reporting on old farts who reserve tee times for other people at The Villages retirement community. No joke, unfortunately. This story is actually on Page 1 A today!

    31. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

      @JAY1937: I usually hesitate if I see a B rating. I go in and look around on the way to the bathroom and when I sit down for anything weird or obvious signs of nastiness. C no way am I eating there. Last year my favorite soul food place got a B for improper tempreture on the fixins… I was shocked and stunned.. Not really I still eat there all the time. Its the only place I found that has real southern fried chicken and hush pups…MMM I think I will go for lunch today :)

      If you think DQ is bad try Dairy King. I grew up in a town so small we didn’t qualify for a DQ. We had the Dairy King and even as a child I was shocked at how gross it was. If you think the Queen doesen’t clean…the King just wallows in the filth.

    32. MYarms says:

      DQ is the Taco Bell of ice cream joints. No surprise about that Orlando Curry Ford Rd location. That area isn’t exactly the nicest in town.

    33. rbcat says:

      Side-note for those of us in the Republic of Texas: Texas DQs are run by the “Texas Dairy Queen Operating Council,” which is a different company than national DQ. While the restaurants down here tend to be older, their franchisees are held to a cleanliness standard. I’ve known of two DQ operators who lost their franchise for failing a health inspection.