Happy May Day! Did you know that May is National Salad Month? It’s the perfect time to finally do what you keep telling everyone in your life you’re going to do and start eating healthier. Instead of another greasy hamburger or calorie-rich hoagie for lunch, try a nice, crisp salad. But be sure to always wash your vegetables thoroughly and inspect them closely! Otherwise you may end up like the many unfortunate consumers who came across all manner of unwanted critters in their salads. Read on to see exactly what we mean.
How fresh do you like your pre-packaged salads? Living creatures inside the bag are some kind of indication of freshness, but probably not one you had in mind. U.K. mom Christina Carrington wasn’t too thrilled when she found a live frog inside a bag of salad she purchased from a Waitrose supermarket. What's worse is that Carrington’s young daughter spotted the frog in the bag hours after Carrington had already eaten some of the salad. "I was absolutely mortified to think I ate the leaves at lunchtime, when clearly the frog had been in the same bag," Carrington said. (Huffington Post U.K.)
Twice in one week’s time, two different Londoners were treated to a little something extra in their bagged salad from Tesco supermarkets: a dead frog. Olly Goldenberg found his frog among some spinach leaves his wife served up with eggs and cheese. A Tesco spokesman said: “We are conducting a thorough investigation with our supplier and have contacted the customer to apologise and to offer a goodwill gesture.” Unfortunately for Tesco, the same thing happened just a week later when Sarah Moss and a friend found a dead frog in their own Tesco spinach. Said Moss, “We must have been eating it for five minutes when her fork pierced something that wasn’t supposed to be there. My friend was sick several times as she is a vegetarian.” (Evening Standard)
The thing about this list is that you really wouldn’t want to find any of these animals even in the building where your food is sold or prepared, let alone in the food itself. But at the top of the list of critters we don’t want to see in a kitchen or storeroom has got to be a rat. That’s why John K. Jones of Saginaw, Mich., and his family were so very unfortunate. Jones tucked into his salad only to find a rat not only dead but disemboweled, leaking its guts all over the lettuce that came out of a pre-packaged bagged salad from Dole. After being sick (obviously), Jones contacted both Dole and the supermarket where he bought the salad. Both offered refunds, but Jones said he didn’t think a simple refund was enough recompense. Do you? (WBBH-TV)
Here’s another unsettling rodent story. Katie’s Pizzeria is a popular pizza joint in Clayton, Ohio, but Katie’s took a bit of a hit last month when a customer found a dead mouse in her salad. An investigation showed that the mouse didn’t come from the restaurant itself, and the food supplier claims it couldn’t have come from its facilities either, that the mouse must have entered the product at the picking stage. We’re sure where along the chain a mouse got into her salad doesn’t matter much to the customer. It’s pretty disgusting, no matter what. (KMOV-TV)
Remember Tesco, the U.K. supermarket chain that was responsible for selling two separate bagged salads with dead frogs in them within a one-week period? Well, frogs aren’t the only dead creatures that have tainted Tesco salads. Back in November 2011, Paul Streeter found a “decomposed and skeletal” bird carcass in a Tesco salad. Streeter said his girlfriend was “seconds away from eating it.” A Tesco spokesperson said the company has “robust systems in place to prevent foreign objects getting into products.” (BBC News)
But the supermarket chain slipped up again two months ago. James and Jasmine Watson were enjoying dinner together when they found their salad from Tesco contained a dead blackcap warbler. Tesco repeated their line about “robust measures” and offered the couple a £200 Tesco gift card, which James Watson called “an insult.” (The Daily Mirror U.K.)
Sue Mantle stopped at the supermarket to buy some healthy salad for her and her diabetic father’s dinner. But the healthy option took an unexpected turn into Disgustingville when Mantle found a cockroach in her mixed greens. A lot of the “victims” on this list found the ickiness in their salads before they actually took a bite. Not so for Mantle, who didn’t detect the roach until she experienced an unexpected crunch. She saw half a cockroach on her plate, and realized she’d just eaten the other half. “I couldn’t stop being sick,” she said. (Watford Observer)
Did you plant your own vegetable garden? Good for you! Think globally and act locally, and all that. Growing your own vegetables at home is wonderful, because you know your food will be free of chemicals and pesticides. But remember that pesticides have a purpose. One blogger recalls a time when she made salad for a boyfriend using lettuce from her own garden. "How did you get rid of the aphids?" her roommate asked. "Organically grown lettuce always has aphids on it." The woman had already eaten the food and washed the dishes, but checking the plants outside revealed that, yup, her lettuce was crawling with the tiny bugs. Oops. (I Must Garden)
Like something out of a campfire story, Jamie Brown tucked into her Wendy’s salad only to notice spiders among the lettuce. They didn’t come swarming out in droves, but there was more than one, including half of one, so it seems Brown may have eaten at least part of a spider (ewww). The health department’s Ralph Clegg downplayed the severity of the incident. "It's not equivalent to food being contaminated by something like shigella. It's an aesthetic thing. Unappetizing, but not dangerous." Still gross though, Ralph. (Deseret News)
Whoever wound up with this salad from a San Francisco eatery was a lot more patient about the extra, unwanted topping than we might have been. “Alls I know is that this poor little critter came along with the salad from an area lunch purveyor,” he or she blogged. Alls we know is if we’d bitten into a wasp, we probably wouldn’t be so shy about protecting the name of the joint that served it up. Can you still be stung by a dead wasp’s stinger? No matter; still gross. (San Francisco Citizen)
Next: What Human Foods Can Dogs Eat?
GREEN SHIELD BUG
For our last item, we return one final time to our favorite U.K. supermarket chain: Tesco. But it’s not just spinach and garden salads you need to worry about there. In this case, a woman encountered an unwanted critter in her pasta salad. Pasta salad is yummy, but not when it has a green shield bug in it. What’s a green shield bug? Well, it’s a bug, so already: gross. But just to be extra appetizing for when you find one in your salad, green shield bugs have a charming defense mechanism by which they secrete a foul-smelling liquid. In response to the complaint, a Tesco spokesperson said, “Unfortunately, the customer hasn’t gone back to the store with the pasta salad.” Don’t hold your breath, pal. (South West News Service)