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A former employee has shed light on a startling incident at a Kokomo, IN Taco Bell, leading to an investigation by the Howard County Health Department. The incident involves an employee receiving a haircut in the restaurant’s kitchen, a practice that has raised serious concerns about food safety and hygiene.

Jennifer Legear, who captured the shocking scene, expressed her disbelief, stating, “I definitely know what kind of things you’re not supposed to be doing inside kitchens. Cutting hair is one of them.” Legear had worked at the Taco Bell on Sycamore Street in Kokomo for about a month before the incident occurred. With a decade of experience in the food industry, she was quick to recognize the potential hazards of such actions.

The haircut took place on a Thursday morning, as the kitchen staff prepared for the lunchtime rush. Shockingly, the employee receiving the haircut had draped a trash bag around herself to prevent hair from contaminating her clothing, but the fact that it occurred in the kitchen itself is a matter of grave concern. According to Legear, the haircut was taking place just three feet away from where food was being prepared.

Initially, Legear took the photograph to share with a few friends via Snapchat, never intending for it to go public. However, the photo eventually made its way onto social media platforms. Following her dismissal from Taco Bell, Legear decided to post the picture on her own social media accounts, stating, “People deserve to know what’s going on where their food is being made.”

Her Facebook post gained substantial attention, amassing more than 600 comments and nearly 900 shares. Most responses mirrored Legear’s own feelings of “pure disgust and disbelief.”

The Howard County Health Department promptly responded to a complaint regarding the Kokomo Taco Bell. An inspection was carried out on the following day. While the department did not confirm whether the haircut incident was the subject of the complaint, it released a statement that read, “The complaint was discussed with management at that time. The inspection report can be released as public information after a 10-day response period.”

Graham McKeen, a food safety expert and the director of Public and Environmental Health at IU Bloomington, emphasized the importance of maintaining food hygiene. “We don’t want hair in the food just from a simple contamination standpoint,” he noted. McKeen explained that local health departments must investigate complaints and determine whether they pose a high risk to food safety. While the haircut incident may not be classified as a critical violation, it certainly raises concerns about potential contamination.

McKeen anticipated that a corrective action plan would be required to rectify the violations. If not addressed promptly, fines might become a factor. Legear, despite her frustration with her termination, expressed her satisfaction that the issue was being addressed, stating, “I also feel like I did the right thing, so if this is what it takes to do the right thing, then so be it; I’ll find another job.”