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10 Weird Things Found in Food

For many people in the Western world, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to food. On any given night you can order a meal online and have someone bring cuisine from Italy, Mexico, Thailand, Korea, Brazil and pretty much anywhere on Earth right to your door. You can eat grapes that have been cultivated to taste like cotton candy. You can try sushi pizza or steak crusted in gold leaf. But whether you’re having a $1,000 hamburger or a $1 pack of Ramen noodles, you expect that what’s in your food is actually food. That’s not always the case. 

10. Human Finger in Custard

finger

What are your thoughts on frozen custard? Tasty dessert? That’s what Clarence Stowers thought when he bought a pint from a Kohl’s Frozen Custard shop in 2005. He took it home, popped it open and bit down on something he initially thought was candy. To quote Stowers directly, he realized something was wrong and the hard bit he found in his custard was not a hidden treat then remarked out loud, “God, this ain’t no nut.”

It was not a nut. It was the finger of a man who injured himself on one of the machines in the factory. The incident apparently happened very quickly, and while workers were in the back helping the man who lost a finger, someone in the front who hadn’t heard what went down served up a new helping of custard and gave it to Stowers. 

As an aside, this story takes a weird twist at this point because of the timeline. Brandon Fizer was the man who lost his finger and, as we said, this all happened quickly. So quickly, in fact, that doctors advised Fizer he could still salvage his finger. In fact, they had a six hour window to reattach it after Stowers found it. But Stowers refused to turn it over, instead keeping it in his freezer as he pondered a lawsuit.

Two weeks later, Stowers relented and returned the finger, but of course by then it was useless and could not be saved. He went on to file a lawsuit

9. Cobra Rice

cobra

No one wants to find an animal in the food they buy because typically you’re not buying living animals as food. And if all you bought was rice, you really don’t want to find any living things in it. And of all the living things you could find in it, the worst ones have to be the sorts of animals that have the potential to kill you when you just put your hand in idly to fish out some rice.

A woman in India narrowly escaped death when she reached into her new bag of rice and brushed against something cool and smooth within. Taking a glance inside, she discovered a small snake and, as one does, she called the local snake helpline. This is India, and snake helplines are actual life savers.

A trapper came to the woman’s house and discovered the snake in the rice was actually a baby cobra. Cobras are obviously extremely deadly and if you think being a baby makes it slightly better, think again. Baby snakes are actually far more dangerous because they have the same amount of venom with the same potency as an adult, but what they lack is the ability to exert any control over envenomation, which means their bites can be even deadlier.

8. Mouse in Mountain Dew

mouse

One of the most famous cases of something gross in your food dates back to 2009, when Ronald Ball claimed he had cracked a can of Mountain Dew and found a mouse inside. This story may have just faded into the background along with dozens of similar stories if it wasn’t for the ensuing lawsuit and the defense Pepsi, the maker of Mountain Dew, chose to mount.

Pepsi wasn’t taking Ball’s claim at face value. And, in their defense, there have been many cases of scammers creating a hoax to try to get money from a big corporation in just the same way. So a company does need to do some due diligence in defending themselves. But in this case, their defense just made things worse. Pepsi claimed the man couldn’t have found a mouse in his can because if they had really lost a mouse, the Mountain Dew would have dissolved it long before he found it. Their experts said that within just 30 days, everything except maybe the tail would have been unrecognisable.

Clearly, the evidence presented at trial would have been magnificent and terrifying to behold, but alas, it never got that far. Pepsi opted to stop things before they got started and settled the case out of court in 2012, perhaps after realizing they were just making things worse for themselves. 

Amazingly, someone actually decided to try this as an experiment and put an already deceased mouse in a sealed container of Mountain Dew for 30 days, far less time than the can purchased by Ball had been sealed. And you know what happened? After the month was up, that mouse had almost completely dissolved just like Pepsi said it would, meaning Ball had likely pulled a fast one on them. But make no mistake, if a mouse did get in your Mountain Dew, you’d still know something was wrong, from the floating hair mats to the new pink color. 

7. Cell Phone Chips

nokia

There’s a fairly common theme among most items people discover in food and that relates to size. Small things end up in food. Things easily overlooked that can sneak into packaging fairly easily. That happens almost every single time. But not every time. Back in 2012, Emma Schweiger had a hankering for some of Clancy’s Ripple Potato Chips, and when she cracked into the bag, she found chips and also an entire Nokia cell phone.

The phone was one of those relics of a decade ago that would be considered a brick today, and it seems like it may have fallen off of someone’s belt clip and landed in a bag. Schweiger found it coated in a greasy layer of chip oil. The store where she bought it offered her a replacement bag, which she didn’t accept as the incident somewhat put her off her appetite. 

6. Mac and Cheese Nails

nails

Some days you’re just not feeling the urge to cook a real meal and instead decide it’s just easier to heat up something. Supermarkets around the world cater to this impulse with a variety of quick, frozen dinners you can toss in the microwave and enjoy in under five minutes. They’re not fine dining, but hey, even bad mac and cheese is still pretty reasonable mac and cheese. That’s probably what Rebecca Shorten was thinking when she decided to have her Tesco brand mac and cheese for dinner.

Midway through eating the entrée, Rebecca bit down on something hard. It turned out to be an inch long nail. She picked through the macaroni and discovered a second nail in pasta. And somewhat more disconcerting was the fact there were three nails in the macaroni, but she’d already eaten one.

Shorten ended up at the local hospital until the nail had run its natural course. Tesco, meanwhile, took the rest of the mac and cheese off of shelves. 

5. Chicken Magnets

magnet

Fast food chicken is notorious for being home to some unusual items that range from bits that look like brains to bits that look like rats, even when they aren’t. But fresh chicken is something that should hold no surprises, you’d think. It’s just raw meat. Where and how is anything getting in there that shouldn’t be? Well, ask Chris Sedgy, who claims to have purchased some magnetic chicken from Woolworths.

According to Sedgy’s account, he bought a package of frozen chicken breast from the store with a magnet stuck to the outside of the package. So on the upside, it wasn’t in the chicken. Except that it was still a magnet stuck to the chicken. He claimed it stayed magnetic after defrosting, and it stuck to two other packages of chicken as well. 

The store claimed to have no idea why this would happen and there’s no word if Sedgy gave over his chicken to anyone to analyze. But before anyone gets too worried, it’s worth noting that in the months before this happened, there were a number of viral posts around the internet that ranged from Instagram and Tik Tok and beyond touting a completely baseless conspiracy about magnetic prions being injected into meat and people using magnets to allegedly prove this. Those are all fringe BS or outright hoaxes, so it’s possible Sedgy was on board with that conspiracy. 

4. Live Frog

clawed frog

Animals showing up in food is par for the course these days. How many times have you read about someone finding a rat in their fast food or a chicken head in their chicken nuggets? It happens. Then you have to worry about poisonous spiders in your grapes. But how often does anyone get a new pet out of the deal? It happened to Becky Garfinkel.

Garfinkel had bought a spring mix salad at her local Target, but upon opening the bag she discovered a small frog had taken up residence somewhere during the packaging process. Slightly more odd was the fact the little guy was still alive. So instead of freaking out completely, she decided to adopt it and it became a family pet. That’s not to say she didn’t freak out a little, of course. She screamed and also vomited.

The frog had a rough go as well, enduring a bath of salad dressing and some quick thinking by Garfinkel’s husband, who used tips from a YouTube video to give it some CPR and get it roused from its near-dead state. The little guy is smaller than a dime and the family named it Lucky, because… obviously.

The company that packaged the salad promised to look into the issue to prevent future frogs from finding their way into salads. As for Target, they offered Garfinkel a $5 gift card. 

3. A Pearl

pearls

Most of the time when you discover an unwanted item in your food, it’s just that: unwanted. Sometimes it’s dangerous and most times it’s disgusting. So it’s nice to see the very rare time when the thing that showed up was actually a bonus. 

Back in 2016, a woman in Seattle was eating at an Italian restaurant when she bit down on something hard. Instead of one of the usual suspects – a shell, a bone, some kind of kitchen garbage – it turned out to be a pearl. And not just any pearl, either. When she had it appraised afterwards, she discovered it was a fairly rare Quahog pearl valued at $600. 

Rather than selling the pearl, the woman decided to have it made into a necklace. 

2. Toenails

toe nail

It’s an objective fact that finding part of someone else’s body in your food is absolutely disgusting on a soul-grimacing level. People flinch at the very thought of finding a hair in their pasta at a restaurant. And for some reason, it’s these cast off bits of humanity that seem the most disturbing. Maybe it’s because, while a whole finger would, of course, be nightmarish, it’s clearly a result of a serious accident. No one puts a finger in a meal on purpose outside of horror movies. But a fingernail? That’s just the result of someone being gross. And a toenail? That’s next level grossness.

As baffling as it seems, toenails and fingernails just won’t stop showing up in food and no place in the world has a bigger issue with this than Aldi supermarket chains in the UK and Australia. Toenails have shown up in pasta sauce and bread, while fingernails have shown up in pizza, ice cream and sardines

It’s hard to say if every one of these claims is true or if there’s just a vast conspiracy of people faking nail clippings in Aldi products. But even if it’s a mix of both, it means someone, somewhere, is clipping their nails in a food prep facility, which is just off putting. 

1. Meth

meth

Lots of people drink coffee as a pick me up, or even just a Pepsi if you need a caffeine boost. But things go to another level when you leave caffeine behind and instead take a solid hit of methamphetamine. 

In 2015, Fred Maldonado claimed that after he drank most of his milkshake from In-N-Out, he discovered some capsules in the bottom of the cup with a paper towel. According to his account, he drank half of it when he bought it, went home, and then finished the rest the next morning. He went back to In-N-Out to ask what was up, and they offered him a free burger.

Not satisfied with a beefy payoff, Maldonado had the pills tested in a lab and they came back positive for meth. To be clear, that’s not on the menu. Maldonado filed a lawsuit against In-N-Out claiming he fell ill after consuming the shake but In-N-Out didn’t respond with sympathy and promised to defend themselves in court.

For his part, Maldonado had the pills tested at an independent lab which confirmed the pills were meth but also noted there was no evidence of meth in the cup or on the napkin he allegedly found in it with the pills. If that seems sketchy, well yeah. It does. Unfortunately, this is where the story seems to run dry and there is no followup on the internet regarding the case. Typically that means the case was settled out of court, but not always.

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