Accidents can happen anywhere, even in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, where one 32-week pregnant woman purchased a laced latte at McDonald’s in August 2018. Sarah Douglas allowed it to cool before taking a sip. She detected a strange taste to the latte and is now considering filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s for what was later discovered floating around in her beverage. Available in Small, Medium, and Large, McDonald’s advertises their 140 calorie lattes as a “treat” customized with “steamed whole or nonfat milk” with “your favorite flavor, including a rich vanilla latte, a toasty caramel latte, or a sweet, earthy hazelnut latte.” In this case, Sarah Douglas purchased a latte steamed with a chemical flavor.
Not only was Sarah concerned about drinking a possibly contaminated latte, but she was also worried about the health of her then unborn child. She experienced an immediate reaction to whatever was in her drink, as her tongue started burning and felt numb and puffy. Before returning to the McDonald’s to investigate what happened, Sarah was able to wash her mouth out thoroughly from a water bottle in her car. The initial resolution offered by the McDonald’s supervisor who met with Sarah was to apologize and provide her with a new latte.
Another employee intervened to explain the possible reason for the latte tasting strange, that the cleaning fluid line was still attached to the milk supply line on the coffee machine. In place of milk, the McDonald’s employees were unknowingly, yet negligently, pouring cleaning fluid into every latte purchased that day. It was not until this one employee realized the error that the lines were corrected. Daily, the coffee machine lines are flushed with cleaning fluid and then replaced with the milk stream lines. An employee had forgotten to complete the necessary maintenance steps to ensure a healthy product would be served to their customers. While Sarah left this incident unscathed and her baby unharmed, she recently expressed her gratitude for this story going public, so as to prevent any careless mishaps from repeating.