Re-creation of razor blade found in customer's hamburger at Willits Burger King. Photo Courtesy: KXTV
By Nick Monacelli, Nick@news10.net
WILLITS, CA - A California woman bit into her Burger King hamburger and found a razor blade.
A few weeks ago, relatives of 46-year-old Yolanda Orozco went to the Burger King in Willits and ordered a few hamburgers.
"I bit off of it, I checked for onions and then I saw a razor blade in there," said Orozco.
Fortunately, she didn't take a big bite.
"I was in shock. I was just looking at it. Somebody at Burger King was careless," she said.
Officer Mark McNelley with the Willits Police Department took the call.
"To be honest with you, I thought it was going to be a hoax," he said.
The razor blade was the kind that can be bought at almost any hardware store. It had a single edge and "009-RD" etched into the side.
Orozco said the blade was hidden between the burger meat and the cheese.
McNelley and his partner spent six hours investigating, trying to determine who was malicious enough to intentionally place the razor on the burger.
However, they soon discovered there was no criminal wrongdoing, that no one intentionally did this. Rather, the officers determined it was an accident that could have easily been prevented.
That night, Burger King employees took the officers on a tour of the restaurant.
"And that's when we saw the disconcerting sign of three other razor blades in close proximity to food," McNelley said.
In such close proximity, one blade apparently fell onto Orozco's burger.
According to the police report, employees told officers they use the razor blades for cleaning purposes. McNelley found them above the condiment area, on the counter in front of and even above the burger warming trays.
"I was definitely surprised. I didn't expect to see that," McNelley said.
Because no one broke any laws, the Willits Police Department has closed its investigation, but the Mendocino County Department of Environmental Health has stepped in.
Inspectors are mandating better training and a better system to track and store the blades.
Orozco said management from the restaurant has contacted her.
"They've called me and offered to see what I need. But right now, I'm just really paranoid," Orozco said.
The Burger King Corporation issued a statement, reading:
Food safety is a top priority for BURGER KING® restaurants globally. Burger King Corp. has strict food handling and guest policies and procedures in place that all crew members are required to follow. Franchisees are responsible for implementing these policies and emphasize the proper food safety procedures to all crew members. The franchisee, who independently owns and operates this restaurant, is fully cooperating with the Willits Police Department.
Burger King's media relations department did not respond when asked if using razor blades to clean was an accepted practice at its restaurants.