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Arizona mom seeking clean playgrounds is banned from eight McDonald’s.
Arizona mom Erin Carr-Jordan, seen at a Chicago McDonald’s in July, is crusading against bacteria-laden play areas at fast-food restaurants all over the United States. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune / July 11, 2011)
By Monica Eng, Tribune reporterOctober 26, 2011
An Arizona woman who took on McDonald’s for unsanitary indoor playgrounds has been barred from eight of the fast-food chain’s locations in the Phoenix area.
Erin Carr-Jordan has spent much of the last eight months calling attention to dirty conditions at indoor fast-food playgrounds, including McDonald’s. She was profiled in the Tribune in July.
Carr-Jordan believes she was banned from the restaurants for sharing lab results with local health authorities showing the presence of infectious staph bacteria, among other pathogens at a restaurant.
Two days after health officials arrived for a “complaint inspection,” she received a letter from the franchisee’s lawyer telling her she was prohibited from visiting the locations. Under Arizona statutes, a person who enters private property after “a reasonable request to leave” can be charged with criminal trespass.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s corporate headquarters in Oak Brook said the ban was prompted not by the health inspection but because Carr-Jordan’s actions had “become disruptive to the employees and customers within our franchisee’s restaurants.”
“We are working with a team to review her findings,” said Danya Proud, spokeswoman for McDonald’s USA. “But her actions are not at all conducive to working together and are now impacting our franchisee’s ability to serve his customers.”
In recent weeks, Carr-Jordan had been working with McDonald’s and a local director of operations, Keenan Strand, to address mutual concerns. As recently as last week, she and Strand discussed meeting to tour one of his playgrounds. Strand could not be reached for comment.
“The only thing that changed between our conversation and this ban,” Carr-Jordan said, “was my appearance on Anderson Cooper‘s daytime show — where I never mentioned specific restaurants — and the health inspection.”
Carr-Jordan, who teaches psychology at Arizona State University in Tempe, says she has documented graffiti, grime and pathogens at play areas in 13 states in hopes of spurring legislation requiring inspections and other regulations for the playgrounds, which currently fall through the regulatory cracks.
“I went with my kids to one of these places, and I felt like I was a pinkeye factory,” Franks said. “Kids were getting sick, and the places weren’t cleaned. … This is a question of public safety.”
Since posting about the ban on Facebook on Monday, Carr-Jordan has heard from outraged parents around the country, some volunteering to pick up her cause.
“Parents are a force to be reckoned with,” she said. “And if they all get involved, this will turn into something much bigger. But right now I just want to see better regulation, bring awareness to the problem and get some dangerous conditions corrected.”