If you go to a McDonald’s restaurant and ask for soft-serve ice cream, chances are that their machine would be out of order. However, there have been multiple investigations into this matter that show how the McDonald’s ice cream machines have a manufacturing defect. A recent report points out how the soft-serve machine has to be maintained and kept clean frequently if it does not want to be a breeding ground for a dangerous disease.
A report by Vice has mentioned that the ice-cream machines stop functioning because there are a lot of moving parts. Another part that presents the problem for the machines is the opposing temperatures it has to maintain. The machines have to be cold for ice cream but also withstand heating cycles that clean the devices to maintain hygiene standards. Vice reports that the software that powers the machines is also often faulty and, as laid out in a lawsuit filed against Taylor ice-cream machines this month, it consists of a flawed code that caused the machines to malfunction.
To make these machines work, some people have found a hack, but that bypasses the hygiene-maintaining cleaning cycles that are fed into the software. Maintenance employees can install a “jumper,” which is a small metal or plastic bracket, on some of the electric pins on the back of the ice-cream machine to skip the software system that makes the machine inoperable if it has not been cleaned in a designated amount of time. Taylor has classified this hardware hack as a grave issue in an internal service bulletin.
If critical cleanliness standards are ignored just to sell ice-cream it “can greatly increase the risk of serving unsafe products to the public,” Taylor itself has told its maintenance workers, reports Vice.
So who uses this hack and why? This hardware hack is not officially promoted by McDonald’s or Taylor but maintenance employees find the task of regularly cleaning the machines quite gruelling. Speaking to Vice, a maintenance professional who has worked in several McDonald’s restaurants for the last 15 years in the US said that they are under pressure to get it up and running and stores cannot sell ice cream while the machines are broken, and customers are often upset when they cannot get McFlurrys or soft serve.