WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Food and Drug Administration turned up the heat on Burger Kingdom's fast food empire today and ordered a massive recall after 1.2 million patties the company intended to flame broil turned out to be 100% flame retardant Angus beef, according to a report filed by the agency.
The FDA issued the mandate when researchers discovered shipments of beef patties the company had intended to distribute contained unusually high levels of the flame retardant known as decaBDE, or decabromodiphenyl ether.
"I thought I was gonna have a heart attack when I heard the news," said Burger Kingdom CEO Cole Esterol. "I mean, sure we've had to face recalls before, but this time, it's a whopper!"
Studies have shown that the flame retardant known as decaBDE persists in the environment, may cause cancer, impacts brain function, and can degrade into even more toxic chemicals, so news of the tainted patties burned up officials at the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA recently announced that, by the end of 2013, production, use, and sales of the chemical will end in the United States, "so, when those burgers hit the grill," said Ethyl Bromide, a spokeswoman for the agency, "the shit hit the fan."
Deca BDE is a persistent and bioaccumulative synthetic chemical, she said, widely used in plastics found in many types of consumer goods that most us have been encountering daily for years, ranging from hand-held devices to hand-held sexual devices.
It comes from a class of flame retardants that includes the notorious compound "Tris" once used in children's pajamas; "Tris" was linked to cancer when hapless animals forced to wear these same pajamas showed an increase in cancer rates.
Unlike its predecessors, deca-BDE was supposed to stay put in consumer goods, but numerous scientific studies indicate it has been migrating into consumers' bodies, often arriving via animal protein sources that have concentrated it - in this case, burger patties.
Government agencies said red flags went up when researchers noted "even lower rates of brain activity and development than usual" in Burger Kingdom employees.
I.C. Benjamins, an assistant flame-broiler at a Washington, D.C. area outlet for the company, recalled a recent incident with the patties.
"Dey say deltaPCP been used for years," he noted. "Prob'ly take dat long jes' to cook deez muff**kazz!"
He had continued to pile burgers on the grill for nearly an hour, he said, until he began to notice they still appeared uniformly pink despite a growing line of impatient customers.
Plus, now his buns were cold, he said.
"I axed Larry [his manager] if we could serve 'em anyway an tell people dey waz 'flame-licked' instead," Benjamins told reporters. "I knew he waz gon' say no even before I axed. Datz hiz problem, yo - he never listen to good ideaz, you feel me?"
Though the recall likely does not spell the end of Burger Kingdom's reign, anticipated financial losses have many executives claiming that "the EPA and the FDA are really walking all over us this time."
On the other hand, many Burger Kingdom patrons say they will be looking for a new value menu - one that doesn't feature this extra carbon footprint.