This morning, I came across Dateline NBC’s list of the top 10 dirtiest fast food chains in the country.  Basically, they chose 100 locations at random, researched their health records, and made frequent visits.

Let me say that I frequently eat fast food, and am not trying to create a movement against it..  Also, I found it hilarious that Taco Bell is cleaner than Subway.  Hahahaha!


The 100 Taco Bells that were sampled had the fewest total critical violations, 91, making it the best performer in the survey.



The golden arches, the 100 McDonald’s they looked at came in with a total of 136 critical violations. Some didn’t have a trained and certified food handler on the job, required by law in many states.

Thompson: “It’s that important?”

Smith-Dewaal: “Absolutely. We can’t have food prepared by people who don’t know that you can’t combine raw meat with cooked meat, with people who don’t understand the importance of proper temperatures in food preparation.”


 8. KFC

The 100 KFCs that were sampled tallied up 157 critical violations, and two thirds of the “finger lickin’ good” restaurants had at least one critical violation. Remember, it was at a KFC, the Health Department says, little Gianni Velotta picked up salmonella poisoning last year. We’ve now learned that another child was also sickened there, and the same restaurant has since been cited for three more critical violations.

While the Velotta’s have settled a lawsuit against the restaurant, a lawyer for the owner of the franchise contends the salmonella cases did not originate there.



The 100 Subways we looked at totaled 160 critical violations. A recurring problem at the sandwich chain was improper food holding temperatures.

Thompson: “What does that mean?”

Smith-Dewaal: “That means that bacteria in the food that’s already cooked can start to grow, and it can reach levels that can cause serious illness for someone who consumes it.”



The 100 Jack in the Box restaurants had a total of 164 critical violations. A Ventura, Calif., Jack in the Box was a trouble spot. It had several customer complaints of food borne illness.



The 100 Dairy Queens  examined totaled 184 total critical violations. One Dairy Queen in Hampton, Va., rang up a number of critical violations last summer for grime, debris, and a inaccurate thermometer.



The 100 Hardee’s tallied 206 critical violations. Again and again inspectors cited the presence of insects and rodents.

Smith-Dewaal: “Rodents and roaches are gross. But more importantly, they can also spread germs from food to food, and carry germs into a restaurant.”

Last May, one restaurant was cited for not having soap in the employee’s sink. Yet, inspectors found employees handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands.



100 Wendy’s had 206 critical violations. That’s the same as Hardees, but more Wendy’s restaurants had violations. So Wendy’s is number three in Datelines dirty dining survey.

At a Wendy’s in Mesa, Ariz., inspectors noted repeated problems with food holding temperatures, mice droppings on the shelves, bare hand food contact, and one food borne illness complaint.



The 100 Arby’s had 210 critical violations. The roast beef specialists had recurring violations for improper hand-washing and employees handling ready-to-eat foods with their bare hands.



So which fast food chain finished number one on Dateline’s dirty dining list? It’s Burger King.   The 100 Burger Kings  sampled rang up a whopping 241 total critical violations. Health inspectors cited a Virginia Burger King for 14 separate critical violations: employees not washing their hands, uncovered food in the fridge, grime and debris found on this ice chute, and on the drink machine at the drive-thru widow.  Dateline observed one employee scooping ice into a cup with his bare hands, an apparent critical violation.