As a blizzard of rumors circulated on social media in the aftermath of a coordinated raid in Abbeville, Greenwood and Orangeburg counties by federal agents on Wednesday, the most outlandish may have been that a popular fast food restaurant was using a wince-inducing ingredient in their burgers.
Greenwood County Coroner Sonny Cox and state health inspectors are clear, however: Dairy Queen’s ground beef patties are not made out of people.
“I promise you, I’ve never had anything of that nature asked of me. I’ve never suspected anything like that. I can honestly say that’s the first I’ve heard of it, and I don’t see any validity in that at all,” Cox told the Index-Journal on Friday when asked about the possibility. “There’s little to no chance of anything like that ever being able to happen.”
Responding on Twitter Friday, the chain confirmed its inventory contained no corporeal byproducts.
“At DAIRY QUEEN, we are very proud of our 100% beef hamburgers. We serve a high-quality hamburger with no additives or fillers,” the company said.
Marlene Kadlec, spokeswoman for Dairy Queen International, said officials are monitoring the situation.
“We recently learned of the law enforcement activity this week at this location, which is a locally owned and operated store. The allegations of illegal activity are troubling. We will be looking into this matter and will be following the ongoing investigation closely as more information becomes available. As this is an ongoing investigation, we refer all questions to authorities,” she said.
Dairy Queen Manager Saif Momin, whose name appeared in an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint in connection with two Greenwood County men arrested on charges of running an unlicensed money transmitting business, called the newspaper to assert his restaurant wasn’t cannibalizing its profits.
Momin has not been charged with a crime and said none of his 18 employees were the subject of Wednesday’s police action.
“I just want to make sure people know it has nothing to do with my business. They were looking for people that don’t work there,” Momin said Thursday.
Momin said he was notified by a corporate inspector that somebody lodged a complaint about “human meat being inside a burger.” According to state Department of Health and Environmental Control inspection records, the facility has an “A” grade and was examined four times in 2018, most recently on Nov. 28 when it received a score of 97%.
“If that was the case, they already would have shut me down,” Momin said of the allegation.
Momin’s establishment was among several raided Wednesday by the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and State Law Enforcement Division officials, who also descended upon an Oakmonte Circle home in the Hunter’s Creek subdivision and an Orangeburg convenience store.
Two men, Mihirkumar Jayantibhai Patel, of 311 Oakmonte Circle, and a man using the alias “Eddie Patel” made initial appearances Thursday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges, who scheduled a preliminary detention hearing for the duo at 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 27 at the Matthew J. Perry Court House in Columbia.