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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Lizard in a salad
Robin Sandusky, from NYC was shocked to discover a lizard in her salad from a local cafe. “I turned it over and the gore was hanging out the back of the neck,” she told ABC News, adding that the lizard had an arm and half-open eyelids. “I said, ‘Oh man. I have a lizard in my salad.’”
She's calmer than we would have been.
4. Wire brush
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.”
5. Live newt in salad
She told the Sunday People: “I had already taken about five mouthfuls.
“The thought I’d been eating the very leaves where it had been laying and probably urinating disgusted me. I could have actually put it into my mouth.
"As a strict vegetarian it was particularly distressing to find an animal in my food.”
Adding: “My lunch became the talk of the office. No one could believe their eyes. This slimy newt was moving around in the salad as if nothing had happened. I felt upset for it and a colleague and I tried to give it water.”
6. Dirty dishcloth
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.
7. Frozen frog in vegetables
These little blighters seem to get everywhere.
Tim Hoffman int he US discovered a small frog in a packet of frozen vegetables. It had thawed out about as much as the vegetables had in the fridge overnight (not sure why they were defrosting as you can cook from frozen but never mind). Its mouth was slightly open. It stood perched atop a small hill of peas, carrots and corn. Delish.
8. 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”.
9. Deep fried chicken head in chicken nuggets
There was more than one US mum bargained for in her son's chicken nuggets from McDonald's. As her little one was more interested in playing than eating she decided to eat the snack herself and was shocked to pull out an entire chicken head, battered. It was so unexpected she almost ate it before her other son shouted at her to drop it. She won $100,000 in compensation.
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.
11. 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.
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."
12. Cigarette fried rice
When Tracy, 32, reheated a bowl in the microwave she was overcome by a strong smell of smoke. She initially thought the fumes were caused by the newness of the microwave which she had bought a few days earlier.
She went to feed the rice to her one year-old daughter - and found the discarded fag end smouldering in the middle.
13. Razer blade in your kiev?
Sophie Perks bought the twin-pack of fresh garlic and parsley kievs from her local supermarket as a quick dinner for her one-year-old daughter Maddison-Faithe.
But as the 22-year-old cut the snack up on the tot’s high chair plate she was stunned when her knife hit a sharp slither of metal - an inch-long razer blade was inside. She received an apology.