Doughnut chain says it is investigating alleged mishandling incident in a store

Photo from Facebook (Jazz Villegas)

Updated (June 12)

“It has been brought to our attention that a post showing mishandling of our product is currently circulating the internet. We appreciate your concern about this matter and we would like to assure the public that the management is already doing an investigation and is coordinating with the concerned individual.”

That was an excerpt from the statement Mister Donut posted on its Facebook page on Saturday night (June 9, 2018). The doughnut chain was reacting to a series of photos that were posted on weekend over Facebook by a netizen, who did not even give details about the location of the store and the date the photo was taken.

But it would be easy for anyone to point out what was wrong with the store’s practices just by quickly looking at the photo.

Tech and Lifestyle Journal points out three apparent bad practices: First, the sales lady’s bare foot was put on top of the crate full of donuts. Other than how gross it looks like, donuts can possibly be exposed to dirt and dust. Plus, such drawers cannot protect food from insects like cockroaches and other pests like rats. Second, the sales lady uses another stack as support for her elbows while taking a call on her mobile phone. This exposes the donuts to droplets of her saliva. Third, why are the empty blue crates of donuts stacked like that outside the store? We suppose these crates will be eventually taken and used to hold new supplies of donuts (they may replace the paper but the same crate may already be full of germs from such practices).

Based on the Republic Act (RA) No. 10611, or the Food Safety Act of 2013, “the food business operators, a person engaged in the food business including one’s agents, shall have the principal responsibility to ensure that food satisfies the requirements of food law relevant to their activities in the food supply chain and that control systems are in place to prevent, eliminate, or reduce risks to consumers (Section 13).”

Aside from the franchisor and Mister Donut itself, the local government units and other agencies named in the law should do proper and strict monitoring of business practices, especially when it comes to preparation, handling, and serving of food products.

Meanwhile, the penalty for any food mishandling and unhygienic handling practices may not be significant—between P50,000 to P500,000. However, it is the impact of such photos to the brand and to consumers’ perceptions that should be taken care of in such situations.

Tech and Lifestyle Journal is open to air the side of Mister Donut, aside from its Facebook statement, about this matter.


Update (June 12, 2018):

Mister Donut, through its Facebook page, disclosed on Monday (June 11) the temporary closure of the concerned shop. It also assured that the incident was an isolated case. Its post read:

“Following the incident showing the mishandling of our products, we would like to inform our patrons, followers, and the general public that the management of Mister Donut has ordered the concerned shop to cease their operation since yesterday. This is our commitment to food safety and we would like to assure the public that we will thoroughly address the concern before re-opening the concerned shop.”