Unsavory discoveries force McDonald's apology

Jan 7, 2015 1:43 PM by CBS/AP

TOKYO -- McDonald's Corp. officials in Japan have bowed deeply to apologize for a human tooth and plastic pieces found in the burger chain's food.

They told reporters Wednesday the objects were found by customers, including a child whose mouth was injured by a piece of plastic in an ice cream sundae in December. The fragment had fallen into the dispenser while being assembled.

CBS Radio News' Lucy Craft reports that McDonald's Japan's senior vice president, Hidehito Hishinuma, said Wednesday that the company was remorseful especially for the child being hurt.

"A child suffered a mouth injury from a piece of plastic. We are deeply sorry for this," he said.

In another case, a customer who bought a Big Mac set in August last year found a tooth in the fries. McDonald's said none of its employees at the outlet or its suppliers had lost a tooth, and there were no signs the tooth had been fried.

It was still investigating how the tooth and plastic, in two other separate cases, entered its food.

"To make such cases zero is our goal," said Takehiko Aoki, a senior executive. "We are doing our utmost to tackle them, one by one."

Craft says McDonald's insists the food contamination cases were "isolated" and do not indicate a sanitation problem at the fast-food giant.

Aoki acknowledged, however, that there were other cases, including metal in a pancake and plastic in a McMuffin, but declined to give a tally of the incidents.

He said it was possible that outsiders had planted the tooth and other items.

In two other cases, pieces of plastic were found in the Chicken McNuggets, delivered from a plant in Thailand. One was blue, and so it could have fallen in during production, but the other was clear, a type not used at McDonald's, officials said.

"I will eat McNuggets. I will feed McNuggets to my children. I have no doubts," said Aoki.

McDonald's is popular in Japan, running more than 3,000 restaurants. Over the years, it has survived "mad cow" scares and more general health worries about high calories. Orders for fries were limited last year to small servings because of a potato shortage. Large fries came back Monday.

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