When checking the St. Joseph County Health Department complaint reports, what turned up in some foods at local stores was surprising. The most disturbing case concerns a can of green beans – and what one family found inside will keep them from ever eating canned green beans again.
"We eat a lot of green beans, we do, we did. Nobody wants anymore now," said Gloria Chubb of South Bend.
Chubb, a retired nurse's aide, is disgusted by what she served up at the dinner table.
"It was meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans," said Chubb.
It was what was in the can of Meijer green beans that made them both lose their appetite.
"My son put some on his plate and said, 'What is that?' I thought maybe it was a piece of moldy bacon or something-- because they have bacon in them sometimes," said Chubb. "I and I took it out of there and it wasn't moldy bacon, it was a toad with parts of his little legs all in the green beans. Other than that he was fully intact."
The St. Joseph County Health Department took pictures of the toad.
Chubb alerted the department because she wants to warn others who may be in a rush like she was that day.
"I didn't see it when I dumped it- I didn't see it at all until after I cooked it in the microwave," said Chubb. "I was sick, nauseated for two days, and I don't think I'll have green beans anytime soon."
Chubb took her unopened cans back to Meijer and they gave her a refund.
She took the toad and the two questionable cans of beans to the health department.
Rita Hooten, the Food Service Director at the St. Joseph County Health Department, said the next step was to send the toad and cans down to the Indiana state Department of Health.
"They do the investigation since it's a wholesale manufactured product," said Hooten.
The Indiana Department of Health concluded the toad was processed along with the food at the canning plant in Wisconsin.
"When the green beans were picked from the field, it was also placed on a conveyor line and just was accidentally put into the can of green beans during process," said Hooten.
"I don't know how they didn't see it. I wonder if it's the only one," said Chubb.
The consumer specialist who compiled the report in Indianapolis says it likely isn't. He says factory canning is a fast paced business sometime moving 300 cans through per minute. He also said green bean fields, along with corn and peas are frog and toads natural habitat so although it is uncommon to find one in your canned veggies it does happen from time to time.
"I think they should come up with a better way of inspecting and canning vegetables," said Chubb. "I mean anything can happen you know but a whole frog?"
The state Department of Health says the most common rodents or insects found in canned veggies are toads, mice and grasshoppers. It's not exclusive to canned veggies, it can happen with frozen veggies too.
We contacted Meijer for comment:
Our goal at Meijer is to always provide the highest quality products to our customers. We sincerely regret this customer's experience, and we are in the process of investigating the incident.
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