If you’ve ever worked in food service, you probably have some health and safety horror stories. Whether a restaurant ignores allergens, has a cockroach problem, or simply hits a lot of red flags, restaurants with poor management provide former and current employees with a host of stories that they’ll tell for years and years.
One such story has recently gone viral thanks to TikTok user @chocolatemilkbrothers.
This TikToker has previously sparked discussion after recounting a story in which a bartender he was employing wanted $30 an hour, plus 115% of tips. Now, he’s gone viral again after sharing a story from his past in which a restaurant boss offered him questionable health and safety advice.
In a clip with over 747,000 views, the TikToker recounts an experience in which he found expired milk in the fridge at a restaurant. When he threw it away, the boss allegedly dug the milk out of the trash and questioned the TikToker’s decision to throw away “perfectly good milk.”
When the TikToker expressed confusion, he claims his boss responded by instructing him to simply use a strainer to filter out the solid parts of the curdled milk, then refill the bottle with water.
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“This place was shut down five days after I quit,” the TikToker alleges. In the caption and text overlaying the video, the TikToker says he managed the bar for a total of 2 days.
It should go without saying, but milk can’t be filtered back to being safe to drink again.
While milk that has gone sour can occasionally be repurposed in cooking, most health and safety experts advise not consuming spoiled milk. The Missouri Poison Center warns that “drinking larger amounts of spoiled milk can cause stomach distress resulting in abdominal cramping, vomiting and diarrhea (like a food-borne illness).” Still, the organization notes that “a small sip of spoiled milk is unlikely to cause symptoms beyond a bad taste.”
Whether or not the TikToker’s story is authentic, users were quick to utilize the comments section to share their own food service horror stories.
“I worked at a pizza place/bar. same thing. food didn’t sell. I threw out black moldy onions and they said to cut around the mold,” recalled a user.
“We had mushrooms growing out of our kitchen floor at my work,” said another. “they finally gutted it all are re did it.”
Others simply expressed their surprise that the TikToker’s boss thought this was a reasonable hack in the first place.
“ok so not only was he watering it down after the fat was taken out, it was probably also sour AF,” noted a commenter. “how is that a hack in any world?”
“Shoulda told him [to] drink a whole glass then,” joked a second.
In a TikTok direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, the TikToker insisted that the story was real and that it occurred in Southeastern Wisconsin, though he refused to name the establishment in question.
“This place existed and was an absolute nightmare,” he wrote. “I’ve worked at other places with issues as well, but the owners of those places were willing to listen to employees and customers for the sake of improving things.”
“I will say the health inspectors in my area never come around. In fact, I started working in the service industry in this area in 2009, and I’ve only witnessed the health inspector come in three time[s],” he added.
The TikToker said that, in his brief time at the location, he found many violations, which is now inspiring a series on his TikTok page.
“I continued to throw stuff out, point out numerous issues, safety, and health hazards,” he explained of his time at the establishment. “I spoke with bartenders and cooks, and the cooks were not great mainly because he found them on Craigslist and believe it or not dating apps, but the bartenders were pretty good, and all of them stated the owner simply didn’t care because it was a bar he opened for fun.”
“The biggest thing I learned [from the experience] is that the show Kitchen Nightmares might not be entirely fake,” the TikToker joked.
Thankfully, @chocolatemilkbrothers says the old owner is no longer in food service.
“From what I’ve heard, he’s an accountant now,” he stated.