by Pauli Poisuo
Everyone is aware by now that the FDA has regulations on how many bug parts are allowed to get in your food ... and if that bug occasionally happens to be a large rat, well, it’s time for a crisp shrug and a “Uh, we’re totally looking into it.”
But at least vermin in your food make sense. There are other things people have found that slap logic right in the crotch and veer headfirst into “Holy crap, what kind of Tarantino movie plot must’ve taken place for this to end up in my dinner?” territory.
A Nokia Phone In A Bag Of Chips
Tearing open a bag of chips always has that weird treasure hunt vibe, since eating from it involves sticking your hand in a dark pit full of unseen secrets. Maybe this is the bag where your luck finally runs out and your greasy, fumbling mitt grabs a deep-fried mouse. Maybe its contents are the same 13 oz. of delicious impeding heart attack as always. Or maybe, just maybe, your thoroughly weirded out hand returns holding a cell phone.
Just dip it in some ranch. It'll be fine.
The last scenario took place in 2009, when a Wisconsin woman was less than delighted to find an old Nokia 6810 chillin’ in her bag of Clancy’s Ripples. How it ended up there, no one knows. The only clue to its history was that the phone looked like it had once been carried around in a belt clip. Did a spy hastily place it in the bag while fleeing a supervillain organization through the potato chip factory, hoping against hope that the aluminum-laced bag would dampen their tracing signal? Is the “burner phone in a snack bag” trick some sort of secret communication method for top-tier drug dealers, and this lady just happened to buy the wrongest bag of chips possible? Or was this just a case of some extremely ham-fisted factory line worker absentmindedly answering his phone while working, and the ensuing greasy-fingered slapstick juggling act led to the world’s first phone-flavored potato chip? There’s literally no way to know.
Still, the story has a small silver lining: The phone was not working, presumably due to the “greasy potato-chip film” it was liberally coated in. So, although this incident thoroughly ruined one person’s snack time, at least the world finally found out just what it takes to kill a Nokia phone. Though the famously invincible 3310 model would probably just have absorbed the grease to charge its battery.
Steel Clamps In A Frozen Dinner
In 2008, an Omaha mom told her 17-year-old daughter that she should eat a heavier diet.
Because the universe has a sense of humor and it constantly listens to everything you say, a little while later said teenager found some hilariously oversized steel clamps in her frozen sesame chicken entree.
Those clamps are actually healthier than everything underneath them.
There are just ... so many things wrong with that picture, we don’t quite know where to begin. That’s pretty much the most foreign object you can find in food, short of evidence of alien life in your chicken Kiev. It looks like a food-making robot tragically lost a limb so we could feast on its sacrifices. The placement of the clamp, neatly on top of the meal like a sprig of parsley, makes it seem like it can’t possibly be anything but a practical joke -- but the package’s seal had not been tampered with. Whatever had gone wrong with the meal had happened in the factory, which makes it all the stranger because they had all sorts of scales and metal detectors that should have picked up the anomaly.
Why are there metal detectors in a food factory? This was a microwave meal, remember. How often do you really look at the frozen dinner you’re about to microwave? If you’re anything like us, it’s not too often; in fact, the less attention you pay to the aesthetics of the Hungry Man you’re about to shove in your face hole, the better. Knowing this and the way metal tends to react when you try to microwave it, random steel bits in your dinner are the kind of thing that screams “product recall,” possibly peppered with a bunch of dirtier words for punctuation. Such was the case with the Clamp Chicken, too: The entree and its ilk were quickly pulled from the shelves, and a full-on investigation was launched.
A 7-Inch Knife In A Subway Sandwich
2008 was evidently a pretty bad year to eat anything: If you didn’t get clamps in your TV dinner, you could always hope for a 7-inch serrated knife in your Subway footlong.
That actually happened to a New York man who says he didn’t cut his mouth or anything, but totally got food poisoning from the knife. He then lawyered up and sued Subway for $1 million. So yeah, we know what you’re thinking: This whole thing was totally a fabrication by some dude looking for easy cash. No “sandwich artist” on Earth is drunk enough to substitute a customer’s black forest ham with a freaking blade.
That does give us some ideas for secret spy weapons, though.
However, there are a few factors weighing in the guy’s favor. For one, the knife was not mixed in with the toppings. It was apparently baked into the actual bread, and indeed the plastic handle appears to be partially melted. Also, that blade does look very much like it could give you food poisoning, doesn’t it? We're pretty sure it happened to us, just by looking at the picture.
Oh, and there’s the fairly telling fact that Subway ended up quietly settling the case for $20,000, and then immediately axed the deal when the guy’s lawyer disclosed the terms of the settlement. We’d like to say that this sounds very much like the actions of a company that is acutely aware that their bread may occasionally be knife-flavored and would very much like to keep this fact out of the public eye, but we don’t want to risk finding a machete in our next Meatball Marinara.
Bullets In Hot Dogs
Self-imposed challenge: Let’s try to avoid the obvious “biting the bullet” joke in this one and just report the facts as coolly as we possibly can.
In 2004, an Irvine, California woman noticed something strange in her Costco hot dogs (apart from the usual strange things in Costco hot dogs). At first, she assumed that the metallic object she could feel with her teeth was a loose piece from her braces. It was not. It was a live 9-mm bullet.
"I'm sorry, I believe I asked for a loaded hot dog."
Police was alerted to the scene, as tends to happen when everyday activities suddenly end up involving bullets. They embarked on a mission they probably won’t be fondly reminiscing to their grandchildren: Confiscating all the hot dogs in the store’s food stand and cutting them to tiny little pieces in search for more bullets.
While the cops could find no more mystery bullets, a doctor unfortunately could. When the woman started developing stomach pains, she headed to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, where an X-ray revealed that the bullet she had originally noticed was actually the second live cartridge in her hot dog. The first one was now residing in her belly. The doctors advised her to just, uh, let the thing exit her body naturally, and then turn it over to the police in case they one day catch the devious Hot Dog Bulleter and need extra evidence.
Human Fingers In … Way Too Many Things, Really
On the list of things you wouldn’t expect even the clumsiest food manufacturer to drop in your meal, their own fingers are probably pretty close to the top. Yet, the machines that produce our delicacies are fickle, bloodthirsty beasts, which is why human fingers end up in food at regular intervals.
In 2005, a California inmate found part of a human finger as an extra side in his frozen dinner, courtesy of a worker that had severed the tip while cleaning a cornbread-making machine. To make things worse, the inmate was a staunch Buddhist vegetarian, and (at least according to his lawyer) so shaken by the incident that he lost 15 pounds in 6 days because he couldn’t eat. In the most situation-inappropriate apology in history, the chief operating officer of GA Food Services commented: “We’re red-faced about it. We’re apologetic about it.”
"Pull my finger. WAIT, NOT THAT HARD!"
In 2006, an Indiana TGI Fridays served a customer a hamburger that contained a piece of a kitchen manager’s finger. This was the result of a Rube Goldbergian chain of events where the employee accidentally cut himself, causing a panicky situation where the rest of the staff hurried to help him. The situation was so confusing that no one, not even the manager himself, noticed that he was missing a piece of his finger, which had dropped onto a plate that a server was delivering. The server never noticed the finger. The customer did, though, and immediately called the police, who just shrugged and said that no crime had happened.
Perhaps emboldened by this lack of law enforcement interest, other restaurant chains hopped in on the digit-removal action. In 2012, a 14-year-old Michigan kid bit into his Arby’s roast beef sandwich, only to discover an extra chewy element that turned out to be a part of an employee’s finger. Incidentally, this makes Arby’s one of the best restaurant chains for aspiring cannibals, seeing as an Ohio branch of the chain was in hot water in 2004 when a piece of a manager’s thumb ended up in a sandwich.
Still, at least Arby’s has its meat slicers to blame for the occasional meal with excess digits. The 2005 saga of Kohl's Frozen Custard in Wilmington, N.C. is a bit harder to understand. A dude who bought a pint of the custard found a mysterious object in it and assumed it was a piece of candy. Then he actually put it in his mouth, licking the ice cream off it until the terrible truth presented itself.
The finger was found to belong to a Kohl’s employee who had managed to lose it to a custard machine. And here’s where it gets weird: The company had just been cleared of a previous incident where the same custard machine took another employee’s finger.
What we’re saying is that the machine is clearly haunted.