Earlier this week, I swore salad off forever after two people found a bat in a bag of spring mix marketed for human consumption. As a vegetarian who avoids actual vegetables at any opportunity, that task was easy for me, but then I started thinking about it further. Sure, I could avoid eating packaged lettuce (the only way to go, really, because then you don’t actually have to wash or cut it yourself) forever, but what other foods weren’t safe? What else could possibly frighten, disgust, and possibly infect me with a disease that would ultimately lead to a made-for-tv movie about my death, executive produced by Gwyneth Paltrow? Is any food safe to eat?
Fortunately, no one who ate the lettuce that the dead bat had been thanklessly flavoring got sick, but it still weighs heavy on my mind. And so — just to get your weekend rolling and remind you that secret dangers stalk us all — we’ve put together this lovingly curated list of “gross things that people have found in their food that may put you off food forever.” Just don’t sue me when you decide to give up eating and begin to subsist only on air and light, like this guy who hasn’t eaten for nearly a century or Eastern Europe’s most infamous living Barbie (there’s more than one, and they hate each other) who only eats cosmic micro-food. No idea what that is, but contrary to any previous thoughts I might have had on the matter, it’s sounding good right about now.
So, where to start? How about with a fun reminder that a dead bat isn’t even the worst thing anyone has found in their food this week?
Maryland Woman Is Surprised To Find A Deadly New Friend In Bag Of Spinach
Sure, a dead bat is terrrrrrrrrrible to find in your package of spring mix, but what if you found something living instead? A Chevy Chase woman was understandably less than delighted when she brought home a bag of spinach and found something crawling inside. Was it a roach? A spider? A caterpillar just looking for a place to morph into a butterfly? Nope, it was a scorpion. A scorpion that was still alive and probably very, very angry at the lemons life had thrown at him.
According to The CDC, it’s a myth that all scorpions are deadly — some bites, the organization reports, just hurt a whole lot — but that’s cold comfort when you’ve got one crawling over the spinach you were going to warm up and toss with some candied walnuts and a nice raspberry vinaigrette. And while knowledge is certainly power, I can think of very few people who’d find a scorpion in their food and calmly begin to do research on toxicity of said scorpion’s venom rather than freak out all over the place and begin making desperate FaceBook statuses about how close they had come to the sweet release of death. If it were me, I’d already have an “I Almost Died AMA” post on Reddit.
Quick, what’s the worst animal name you can think of! Yep, someone found it in a fish
Unless you’re enjoying a plate of fish at Mar-A-Lago (a place which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to join and is still fraught with health code violations) (hmmmm, symbolism), you can generally expect your seafood to be both edible and parasite-free. But in 2013, a Belfast man was concerned when he found a gift-with-purchase inside the mouth of a Sea Bass.
The Huffington Post reports that the little monster the terrified shopper found in his dinner’s mouth wasn’t an alien from another dimension — although it looks like some kind of nasty video game frog — but a tongue-eating louse. Oh, okay. Thats totally chill, then. I thought it was something serious, not just SOME HELLISH CREATURE FROM THE DEEP THAT LITERALLY STARVES ITS HOST TO DEATH JUST BECAUSE.
Who should worry about tongue-eating louses? Fish.
Can tongue-eating louses hurt you? Only if you pick them up and they’re still living. They pack a mean bite.
Are they still scary as heck? Yes, no one will judge you for burning down your residence if you find one in your food. It’s in your insurance contract.
Can we ever known for sure that a tongue-eating louse won’t evolve to crave the taste of human flesh? No. Scientists can’t even explain how magnets work, how can you trust them if they say these things are safe?
Bang! Bang! My baby (filled a hot dog with bullets and) shot me down
In 2004, a California woman was enjoying a hot dog at Costco (the world’s best restaurant; you ever try the pizza?) when she bit into something hard. Recognizing that hot dogs are generally described as tender and juicy rather than “a texture experience that will send you screaming for the dentist,” she rightly checked into what she was putting inside her mouth and found a live round of ammunition. At the hospital, doctors found another round inside her. No one knows how the bullets got into the hot dog (although there’s no word on whether someone actually checked if bullets are made in the same factory as Hebrew National franks) (what a reality show that would make), but Costco’s CEO said that the hot dogs had passed through the store’s medical detector just fine.
Fun fact: Stores put their food through metal detectors! Who knew?
Burger King breakfast sandwich puts wedding on hold
The first thing that we need to discuss is that Burger King serves breakfast sandwiches. Is this a thing they still do, because, if so, why haven’t I ever heard of it? Could it be because a New York woman found a syringe in hers? According to her attorney, the woman had to be treated for punctures after her second bite into the sandwich, but the effects were much more long-lasting. She went on to postpone her wedding (fear of HIV and other STIs) and then sued the chain for nine million dollars for her medical bills and the emotional state biting into a syringe had left her in.
And this wasn’t the only incident related to Burger King and syringes. In 2011, a soldier sued the chain for a syringe he allegedly found in his food at a military location in Hawaii.
A heaping helping of human skin
Arby’s is known for two things: Roast beef sandwiches and curly fries — the only appropriate way to enjoy greasy potatoes. But now it’s known for a third thing: the delicious taste of human flesh. And it’s all thanks to an Ohio manager who loved his job so much that he refused to stop working even after he’d sliced off a bit of finger when cutting and sanitizing lettuce. Understanding that food should never go to waste, the manager then proceeded to keep the bin of lettuce in use and just bandage himself up.
That’s dedication, sure, but one man wasn’t able to see it that way. In fact, he was pretty pissed that he ordered a roast beef sandwich and that it had come with a fleshy surprise. But his story was only the beginning! According to NPR, another diner — this time a 14-year-old boy in Michigan — also found the remains of someone’s appendage in his food. In that case, an employee had cut herself on a meat slicer and then kinda sorta just didn’t tell anyone about it.
“That doesn’t sound too bad,” you might be thinking, “I don’t even eat at Arby’s.”
Fine, but fingers, fresh or frozen, aren’t a proprietary ingredient. According to NPR, they’ve also been found in fast-food custard at a Friday’s, and, in one strange case, a meal served to an inmate.
Would you like Vicodin with that?
Usually, the things people find in their food have been placed there by accident. Everyone’s mad that a bat got into a bag of salad, but no one thinks that Jim from the packaging plant put it there on purpose. It just wouldn’t make sense! And the culprits are often the victims themselves, placing discarded fingers into their Wendy’s chili in order to get paid. Not so when it comes to a Florida Burger King worker who was thrown behind bars for topping off specialty sandwiches with his own ingredient — a little bit of Vicodin.
Why exactly the guy had placed the pain-killer into people’s chicken and fish sandwiches is something that we won’t ever know. It takes about 15 minutes for the drug to kick in, so it’s unlikely he would have seen the effects; and unless his plan was to cause chaos and destruction by hoping that his victims would get high, drive, and then hit someone, it makes no sense why one would waste a perfectly good pain-killer on someone just trying to enjoy a BK meal in peace.
Our guess? He was afraid of getting caught and wanted to hide the pills as fast as he could.
The final nail in the burger
When I have children, and it’s happening soon because god knows I need help around the house, I’m going to teach them that the world is an unfair place in which bad things happen to even the most kind and well-meaning people. McDonald’s seems to share this sentiment, it must, because that’s the only reasonable explanation for why they sent a human nail out in a two-year-old’s burger.
According to The New York Daily News, a mother visiting the restaurant with her family in Ireland found the nail thanks to the fact that her daughter’s a picky eater. Refusing to eat the buns, the toddler pulled out the patty, on which her mother immediately spotted the nail. Mom thought it was an onion at first, and then a fake nail, but when she confronted the staff, they informed her that the nail was definitely human in origin. McDonald’s refunded her money but the family probably won’t be back.