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Filthy Soda Machine Forces Closure of Fort Meade Burger King

The restaurant opened back up Thursday after a cleaning and inspection.

The Burger King at Fort Meade was temporarily closed this week following the discovery of insects and maggots inside a soda dispenser.

Workers at the restaurant discovered the infestation Saturday after investigating a malfunction of the machine, which was located in the area of the restaurant that served the drive-thru window. 

Leaks in an internal hose and the electrical area of the machine attracted insects and other contamination, according to a spokesman for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, which owns the Burger King franchise. 

"The machine was immediately cleaned and the restaurant was closed to allow for a more thorough cleaning and disinfecting," said the spokesman, Lt. Col. Thomas Shrader. 

The restaurant opened Thursday at 6 p.m. following a second inspection from public health and food experts from Fort Meade. 

Fort Meade officials said a plastic barrier which kept soda from dripping into the infested area cracked, allowing soda to drip into an area that became infested. The leaks may have been going on for 7-10 days. 

Images of the infestation were posted on the business review site Yelp, showing mold and maggots.

"The decision to close the Burger King on Fort Meade was not done because conditions posed an immediate health risk, but because we wanted to give the staff the opportunity to conduct a top to bottom cleaning to ensure they were able to correct the problems that existed," Installation Commander Col. Edward Rothstein said in a statement.

Inspectors from Fort Meade also checked other restaurants on the installation, and AAFES required that panels on all soda machines be checked. 

"The health and safety of those who live and work on Fort Meade as well as visitors to the installation is of upmost importance to me and my staff," Rothstein said, "We will continue to monitor this situation and I will do what I can to ensure that this faculty  and all other eating establishments on post adhere to safety standards for food handling."

Diane in Odenton February 08, 2013 at 05:55 PM
I don't eat at those places either and this nasty image just reinforces my resolve to stay away.
Odenton Guy February 08, 2013 at 06:09 PM
I may be joining you two. Outrageously disgusting.
Brian C. February 08, 2013 at 06:43 PM
aww come on now. It is just a little rust. The acid in the pop will kill anything harmful. SN: Sarcasm is fun
Tim February 08, 2013 at 09:16 PM
These kind of pest issues actually occur fairly frequently in restaurants. fruit flies are quick breeders and typically come into a location on fruit and vegetables. I'm sure most people have dealt with these flies in their own home at some point. This sounds like it was luckily caught before flies were all over the store. I deal with these types of issues in restaurants on a daily basis as I'm a pest control operator. I'd be more concerned with their employee behavior towards customers and food handling than a small pocket of flies from a broken piece of equipment. I applaud the command for jumping on it quickly!
Calique February 09, 2013 at 12:32 AM
It doesn't matter if it is fast food or an elegant sit-down restaurant. They can ALL have equipment failures and staff failures and problems. The only way to avoid all issues is to never eat out.

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