Fast food giant McDonald's shut down up to 50 stores across the North Island on Friday night after an incident at a plant meant there could have been glass in burger buns.
About half of its 100 North Island stores were closed between 10.30pm on Friday and 3am yesterday as potentially injury-causing stock was removed.
McDonald's spokesman Simon Kenny said the company was informed on Friday night that broken glass from a light was found on the floor next to the production line and the suppliers could not guarantee glass had not entered the buns. Suppliers told McDonald's quality assurance staff: "We see it as extremely low risk but, no, we can't guarantee it."
Kenny said the last time maintenance was done was last Sunday so all buns made between Sunday and Thursday had to be pulled from the stores. Only North Island stores were affected as they got fresh buns - South Island stores were not affected as they received frozen buns made before the glass was found.
General manager of North's Bun Company, which makes the chain's buns, referred all questions back to McDonald's.
McDonald's took all of Saturday to finally reveal the nature of a problem that had angered customers, with many going to McDonald's Facebook page to complain about not being able to get their burger fix.
The company's public relations machine reassured customers that the incident was minor, in one post saying: "One of the plants we use for our buns experienced a breakdown and we ran into a bit of a bun supply issue late last night".
Auckland's Great North Rd McDonald's store manager Julia Maa said the restaurant closed between 10.30pm and 2am, which resulted in "a lot of angry drunk customers".
Oh dear. Having worked in a food manufacturing environment in the past, we are well and truly aware of the risk of foreign bodies entering the product. But the problem is usually detected and dealt with internally, and it's rare that contaminated product makes it to the market.
We're sure that the North's Bun Company will be reviewing its QA processes; even the possibility that broken glass could have laid alongside a production line from Sunday to Friday is alarming.
Ah well; we don't really like Maccas burgers anyway...