.From a dead pickled rat to a one-inch nail – we look at some of the most disgusting items people have found in their food.
A dead mouse
In 2009, Stephen Forse was making sandwiches for his children from a Hovis ‘Best of Both’ loaf of sliced bread. But something caught his eye - a 4cm-long dead mouse. He said “I noticed a dark coloured object imbedded in the corner of three or four slices…as I looked closer I saw that the object had fur on it”. The Telegraph reported that the bread’s manufacturer Premier Foods immediately apologised for the incident and was fined almost £17,000. More worrying perhaps, for Mr Forse and his family, the mouse’s tail was never found.
Dead pickled rat
Imagine this. You’re picking out some tasty gherkins for a salad when you see a nine-inch long, dead rat suspended in the jar. That’s exactly what happened to Jeanette Reinders in November 2005. She told The Sun she was “disgusted”, adding that “it was a dismembered rat with a horrible long tail”. According to the newspaper, Asda launched an immediate enquiry and compensated Jeanette and her partner with £100 and a Christmas ‘trolley dash’. It’s thought the rat was accidentally collected in amongst vegetables during harvesting.
When Brett Stephens tucked into a Chicken Legend burger at a McDonald’s in Kidderminster in February 2010, he was surprised to find a five-inch wire brush sticking out of it. His mother was quoted in the Daily Mail: “I looked at it and started to pull it out and it kept coming – it was right through the piece of chicken.” McDonald’s responded, offering a refund and a statement claiming they were “very sorry”. The fast food chain also launched an investigation and confirmed that McDonald’s “take the safety and quality of its food very seriously indeed.”
A horrified Maggie Sullivan sliced into a loaf of bread bought at a Tesco supermarket in Chepstow in November 2010, and found something blue that she thought was mould. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a dirty dishcloth that had been accidentally baked into the bread. Maggie told BBC News “I couldn’t believe it when I saw what was lurking inside the loaf”. Tesco released a statement saying they were “very sorry for this extremely rare find” and confirmed that they had rung Maggie to apologise personally.
Black widow spider
In the autumn of 2002, Stephanie Thorneycroft found an unlikely stowaway in a bunch of grapes - a black widow spider, one of the most venomous in the world. It soon emerged that the spiders were used during production of the grapes to fend off insects, reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Tesco commented: “we are committed to reducing pesticide use. Before grapes leave the US each box is checked but we apologise for any distress this may have caused”.
In March 2011, Leigh Savage claimed that he found at least 20 maggots crawling inside his Big Mac, bought at a McDonald’s in Victoria, Australia. McDonald’s launched an investigation, but according to Australian newspaper the Frankston Standard Leader, the fast-food giant later insisted that they weren’t to blame, saying that insect contamination was “not possible”. The newspaper, now unable to reach Mr Savage, reported that no further action was taken.
A one-inch nail
Rebecca Shorten heated up a Tesco Value macaroni meal for a quick dinner in August 2008 – and unknowingly swallowed a one-inch nail. She said at the time, in a Daily Mail article: “I bit into something hard, then I took another bite and saw a nail in the macaroni.” After an X-ray confirmed she had swallowed the nail, Rebecca remained in hospital while she waited for it to pass through her system. Tesco issued a recall of the product and said that they were carrying out an “urgent and thorough investigation”. But the episode put Rebecca off Tesco ready meals – she vowed never to eat another one again.
tooth which found its way inside a man’s
yoghurt did not enter it during the manufacturing process, according to Tesco.
Former corporal, David Casey, 43, was shocked to discover that he had mistakenly bitten into a yellow tooth with a filling attached instead of a piece of fudge inside 68p Tesco’s own Devonshire-Style Fudge Yoghurt.
Upon eating the bizarre item on 24 September, disgusted Mr Casey drove to the store at Arena Park, Bedworth, Warwickshire, demanding an explanation.
But a full investigation by the supermarket giant with its supplier has since ruled that the tooth did not get inside the pot during production.
Mr Casey, who is suffering from stomach cancer, told the Coventry Telegraphy: “Straight away when I saw it, it looked like a tooth. It even had fillings as well. They refunded me the money for the yogurt and said they would send it back for further analysis.
“They’ve said sorry for the inconvenience but it’s not inconvenient – it’s disgusting. I could have someone’s scabby tooth in my stomach right now and that would not have been nice.”
After the incident, Tesco sent Mr Casey two £15 vouchers, which he returned both times labelling it an ‘insult’.
Responding to the incident, a Tesco spokeswoman said on Tuesday: “Food security is something that is taken very seriously and not left to chance. We have carried out a full investigation with our supplier that suggests the tooth did not enter the yoghurt pot during the manufacture process.
“Firstly the yoghurt ingredients are passed through a number of fine sieves which would remove any foreign body and the fudge pieces themselves are visually inspected.
“The final safeguard is the product passing through a metal detector. We fully appreciate what an unpleasant find this must have been but remain at a loss to explain how the tooth entered the product.”
It comes weeks after a separate incident where a family encountered the charred skeletal remains of a dead bird in their salad as they sat down for dinner.
A spokesperson from the Food Standards Agency told us that “it is vital that all food businesses follow good food hygiene practice to minimise any potential food safety risks. If people have concerns about any food products they should contact their Local Authority.”