06/18/2013 09:54 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Moldy Lemons Allegedly Served Up At Five Guys (PHOTO)

A photograph of moldy lemons, posted online by a Reddit user claiming to be a Five Guys employee, has prompted more questions than answers.

"My manager just forced me to serve these lemons so that we don't 'waste money'," writes the user.

If true, such an action could have serious consequences -- consuming moldy foods can lead to serious health conditions, including allergic reactions and respiratory problems, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some molds, in the right conditions, can even produce poisonous mycotoxins, which in extreme cases can lead to death.

But some of the lemons in the picture look untouched by mold -- was the alleged Five Guys employee really instructed to serve the moldy lemons, or just the spotless ones? A message sent by The Huffington Post to the Reddit user was not returned.

Five Guys representative Molly Catalano told HuffPost that the company is taking the photo seriously. "Five Guys is focused on serving the highest quality food in a clean and safe environment," she wrote in an email. "We follow all health code requirements as well as our own brand and health standards. In addition to normal health department inspections, every Five Guys restaurant is inspected by a third party health safety auditing firm, through unannounced visits. We also audit our stores, twice a week, with mystery shoppers to ensure that our stores are following all brand, cooking and health procedures."

Catalano stressed that although the chain "would like to investigate this claim further," it doesn't have much information to go on. "We encourage the person who posted this to contact us either through our anonymous customer hotline (866-345 Guys) or our main office number so that we can gather details," she said.



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