Ban won't stop mom from fighting filth at McDonald's

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- The Valley mom on a mission to clean up fast-food restaurant playgrounds says she has no intention of abandoning her anti-germ campaign despite being banned from eight local McDonald's restaurants earlier this week.

Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan said support is still pouring in from across the country and she's more determined than ever to keep those play areas clean.

Carr-Jordan said she's had samples tested from McDonald's play areas throughout the Valley and across the country and many of them revealed dangerous germs. Now, she wants the owners to be forced to clean them up.

When she first saw the dirty conditions inside the play areas of a number of McDonald's restaurants, Carr-Jordan didn't know who to inform.

"There's nobody even to call," she said. "They say complain to the managers. That obviously didn't go so well. I complained to the managers and now I got banned."

Carr-Jordan is now forbidden to visit eight Valley McDonald's restaurants after warning others about the dirt and danger, some of which she displays on her Facebook page.

She said other people are volunteering to help.

 "There's so many other people who are saying, 'Give me the swabs, I'll pick up the torch' or 'I'll go in here and take video for you,'" Carr-Jordan said.

She now is pushing for new legislation that would make the county's health department responsible to inspect restaurant play areas. She said California and Illinois have already shown interest in that bill. She wants Arizona to also get on board.

At Thursday's unveiling of a new healthier Happy Meal, McDonald's spokesman Jerry Gehrke assured customers that play areas in restaurants are clean.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure that customers have confidence that when they visit our Playland that they're going to be safe and sanitary," he said.

A spokesperson for the Maricopa County Environmental Services said that inspectors will talk to managers or owners at restaurants with playgrounds if they find the conditions dirty or if they find equipment broken, but it is not a violation on their health code report. Most McDonald's get high grades on those reports, which have to do with food service and preparation areas.