The popular Burger King restaurant on Fort Meade, shut down this week when workers discovered an infestation of maggots, has reopened after an all-clear from the installation's public health team.
Col. Edward C. Rothstein, commander of the Army base in Anne Arundel County, closed the restaurant Wednesday after the insect larvae were discovered during repairs to a soda machine.
The infestation apparently developed around a leak behind a panel that was inaccessible to restaurant workers, according to base officials. Entomologists from Public Health Command said it appeared to have been a one-time event that had developed over seven to 10 days before it was discovered.
Rothstein said he closed the restaurant not because it presented an immediate health risk, but to give staff time to conduct a "top-to-bottom cleaning" and a follow-up inspection.
The public health team, including preventive medicine specialists from the Public Health Command, Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Clinic and food inspectors from veterinary services, declared the restaurant ready for the public, and Rothstein authorized managers to reopen Thursday evening.
Other food facilities on Fort Meade were also inspected, officials said. The Burger King was the only facility with the type of soda machine in question.
"The health and safety of those who live and work on Fort Meade, as well as visitors to the installation, is of upmost importance to me and my staff," Rothstein said. "We will continue to monitor this situation and I will do what I can to ensure that this facility and all other eating establishments on post adhere to safety standards for food handling."
The Burger King on Fort Meade is operated by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, an agency of the Defense Department. Fort Meade is home to 11,000 residents and workplace for 56,000 uniformed and civilian employees and contractors, making it the largest employer in the state.