Burger King says former employee’s cockroach-in-burger claim is a Whopper of a tale

Illustration for article titled Burger King says former employee’s cockroach-in-burger claim is a Whopper of a tale
Photo: robwilson39 (iStock)

Last week, Joseph Carney of Kingston, New York bought some Burger King. Upon opening his Philly King burger, he says, he discovered an undesirable condiment: a cockroach. Gross! Terrible! Nightmare! But Burger King has something to say on the matter, and it can be summarized thus: “Yeah, that’s a total load of crap, guy.”


First, Carney’s story. Carney told the Hudson Valley Post reports that after he purchased his meal from a BK on New Paltz, New York, he took a bite and realized that the burger didn’t have any toppings. “So I opened the burger,” he said, “thinking I got a typical screw up with a plain double cheese Whopper...” What he found, according to his story, was a cockroach.

Carney, who provided the Post with a copy of his receipt, added, “And I can promise it was real... I love my food and would never compromise a meal I’ve paid for!”

If that last bit sounds a little like a the-lady-doth-protest-too-much situation to you, you’re not alone. (A hint for the future: Most people reporting insects found in food don’t say “I would never compromise a meal I’ve paid for.”)

The Post reached out to Burger King for comment about the compromised meal in question on Monday, and late on Wednesday, they heard back (via email) from Sanjay Patel, a representative of the company that owns the New Paltz franchise location. To summarize a bit, he said that the store is inspected monthly by a pest control company, undergoes periodic inspections by Burger King’s independent inspectors, and has received no complaints of cockroaches from any customer, including one Joseph Carney. He also said that after Carney’s photo went viral, they brought in a pest control team to do another inspection, and no evidence of cockroaches was found. But he didn’t stop there.

“The method by which our sandwiches are prepared render it highly implausible if not impossible that Mr. Carney’s photo be genuine,” Patel said, before noting that Carney is a former employee of the store, and a friend of another former employee, one who was recently fired. He went on:

“Mr. Carney’s allegation is a fabrication and a slap in the faces of our dedicated, hard-working staff who live in the New Paltz area and who pride themselves on providing quality food and quality service. It is a phony. Let your readers draw their own conclusions.”


Carney denies the claim. He told the Post he reported the cockroach-which-just-happened-to-wander-into-the-melted-cheese to local health authorities. He also posted the following on Facebook, again according to the Post:

“Some of you are thinking it’s fake, which is fine, especially in today’s world but for those [sic] who know me, know I eat like it’s a daily religion.”


All totally normal stuff to say about your questionable food safety experience.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves TV, bourbon, and overanalyzing social interactions. Please buy her book, How TV Can Make You Smarter (Chronicle, 2020). It’s short!


The roach should have melted cheese sauce on both sides if it was in the sandwich. Or, there should be a roach-shapped void on the top bun. but there isn’t. and the cheese sauce is likely applied to the top bun and then set on the meat, meaning that roach should be covered in cheese, which it clearly isn’t.

but I do have a video of that roach putting it’s hands on a poor intern....