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A cop complained that his hamburger had dirt on it, but it was supposedly just pepper

Mike Pomranz
July 06, 2018

Eating out comes with an unspoken agreement: We pay restaurants our hard-earned money, and in return, they don’t mess with our food. Granted, typically you have no reason to worry, but an air of mystery always exists: What is going on back in that kitchen?

That sense of paranoia seems to be especially high for police officers: In the pantheon of fast food tropes, a rabblerousing teenage employee spitting in a cop’s burger is up there with the McFlurry machine not working. So clearly, uniformed officers have reason to be extra vigilant of tampered food, but as one Florida police offer recently found out, sometimes, strange looking fast food is just… uh… fast food.

According to the Fort Myers News-Press, local officer Tim McCormick took to Facebook on Wednesday to complain about a hamburger he was served at a nearby Burger King. The officer alleged he was served a burger “with dirt in it,” in a since removed post. He continued, “At first I thought it was just burned old bacon, I was hungry and ate the burger, at the last bite I saw dirt and grit on the burger. In disgust, I threw it out of the window.” (That sounds like illegal littering, but in this case, we can let it slide.)

Social media fervor quickly grew, leading Dan Fitzpatrick, CEO and chairman of Quality Dining Inc., owner of this particular Burger King franchise as well as over 160 others, to take McCormick’s allegations as seriously as possible. He invited senior level Fort Myers Police Department officials to come in and watch the full tape of McCormick’s meal being prepared. They quickly determined that nothing unsavory happened at all. In fact, the culprit was likely something extremely savory: a salt and pepper blend that Burger King puts on its burgers before flame-broiling.

Fitzpatrick’s final assessment of the “dirt” was that it was possibly a combination of that spice mixture and the flame-broiling process that may have left particles that would resemble dirt.

Despite all the social media nonsense, both Burger King and the Fort Myers Police Department seem to have no hard feelings. “We love these guys,” the franchise owner reportedly said. The News-Press suggested that Police Capt. Jay Rodriguez took a similar tone. “Burger King took it very seriously,” he was quoted as saying. “We hope it can get resolved. There was no malicious intent.”

Still, Fitzpatrick said he would appreciate it if McCormick tried to make amends online. “We hope the officer will post something, in whatever manner he chooses,” he said. In general, it would probably be a good idea if we were all as hyper-sensitive about what we post to social media as police officers are about what’s in their burgers.

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