Campus Dining Services is currently investigating a case involving a rusty nail pressed into the bottom of a student’s hamburger bun purchased at Wendy’s in Roth Café.
Sophomore English major Ashley Tymann bought a junior bacon cheeseburger from Wendy’s at 6 p.m. on March 30. After taking it back to her friend’s dorm to eat it, she found the hazardous addition to her meal once she took a bite and a rusty nail fell onto the wrapper in her lap.
“I kind of lost my appetite for campus food after then,” Tymann, who lives in Roosevelt Quad, said.
After discovering the nail, she brought the burger back to Wendy’s around 7 p.m. and spoke with the facility’s night manager. Tymann said he took the burger to submit to the Faculty Student Association for an investigation. He also took her receipt and refunded her money, she said.
Tymann was instructed to return to Wendy’s the next day to speak with the day manager. That manager told her that it was not likely the nail came from Stony Brook’s facilities, but rather from the packaging facility that supplies the buns.
Wendy’s Director of Consumer Communications spokesman Bob Bertini supported that claim.
“Since our buns go through a metal detector at the bakery, we suspect this may have happened at some point during the transportation process,” he wrote in an email. “We will review and adjust our procedures as necessary.”
“Nothing is more important to Wendy’s than the quality and integrity of our food,” he added. “We are sorry that this unfortunate incident occurred.”
Wendy’s has previously been cited for food safety violations. According to a Suffolk County Department of Health Services inspection report from April 2012, an employee was seen handling raw hamburger patties with his bare hands before wiping them on a dirty rag and then handling utensils while cooking the burgers. He never washed his hands.
Another employee loaded dirty pans into the dishwasher and did not wash his hands either before he unloaded the unit.
Campus Dining Services has been conducting the investigation with the bakery that distributes the buns to the campus Wendy’s, according to Joseph Rudolph, regional operations vice president of Lackmann Culinary Services, the contract holder for Campus Dining Services. Neither Rudolph nor Bertini would disclose the bakery’s name.
“The vendor is working with the employees of the manufacturing plant to investigate and report their findings to Campus Dining Services,” Rudolph wrote in an email through a Campus Dining spokeswoman. “Campus Dining Services has not received this information from the vendor yet.”
Tymann said she occasionally receives text messages with updates on the investigation, but not as often as she would like to.
While the incident “disgusted” Tymann, she said she will probably eat at Wendy’s again eventually, as she ate there often last semester, but not any time soon. She said she hopes other students do not come across the same experience because they might not end up as fortunate as she did.
“I was lucky enough not to have bitten into it.”
Correction: April 16, 2014
An earlier version of this article contained a photo that did not properly block out the names of Facebook users. After a reader left a comment on this article, the photo was replaced so the names of the users are not viewable in any way.