It's probably best to get this warning out up here at the top: This article is disgusting. If you're eating, or plan on eating in the next, oh, let's say four hours, maybe it's best to copy-and-paste the hyperlink to whatever doo-hickey you use to remind you to come back and read it later. You're going to want some time to let your stomach settle after this one.
Okay, then. Did we get rid of all the squares? Is it just us craven and disgusting types left? Great. Let's begin.
Yesterday, it was reported that sewing needles were found lodged in turkey sandwiches on various Delta Air Lines flights. (Comedians in the '90s would kill for this kind of news, just to complete their bit about how terrible airline food is.) And while no one wants to ingest sewing needles (unless you're part of the Jim Rose Circus, speaking of the '90s!), just how gross is this airline culinary catastrophe on the Great and Powerful All-Time List of Grossest Items Found in Foods? To find out, let's stroll through history, going all the way back to when the Internet was created -- it's actually kind of tough to find well-documented food snafus pre-Internet age -- and rank them, in order of grossness. They are as follows:
10. Chowder Condom
This one happened in 2004, right in our own backyard. Down in Santa Ana, a woman took a few slurps of her chowder and encountered a rubbery substance she thought was a bit of a clam. But after she wasn't able to chew the substance to her satisfaction, she spit it on a napkin and discovered it was a rolled-up condom. Gross? Of course. But it lands last on my list because at least the consistency of the meal she wanted and the meal she got was kind of close.
9. Ribbit, Ribbit
In 2010, a Michigan couple opened up their bag of frozen vegetables to discover, sitting right there among the bits of corn, carrots and peas, a tiny frozen frog, slightly thawed out and its mouth slacked open slightly.
8. Delta Flight Needles
So, here's where the most recent sewing needles story fits in. It's a tad grosser than the frozen frog and Case of the Problematic Condom -- mostly because there's a real danger to ingesting needles -- but they're still not nearly as gross as... well, you'll see.
7. Subway Knife Fight
In 2008, a man in Queens took a few bites of his foot-long Cold Cut Combo sub sandwich and found a 7-inch serrated knife baked right into the bread. The man reported some stomach issues following eating a few bites of the sandwich, but who knows if that was caused by the baked-in knife, or because he was actually eating a Cold Cut Combo from Subway? Seems like a toss-up.
6. Black Widows in Grapes
In 2010, a Boston man opened up a bag of grapes he bought from Whole Foods and found a couple of live black widow spiders hanging around. This is disturbing, obviously, because of the deadliness of the black widow venom, but also because the casualness in the response from the Whole Foods spokesperson: "Unfortunately these things happen from time to time with fresh produce. Spiders are part of the natural environment where grapes are grown." Well, that settles it. No more fresh produce for me!
5. Poop Scoops
Contrary to popular belief, it's not just America with the gross-things-embedded-in-foods issues, as evidence by this story out of Sydney, Australia. In a sports pub, a family of five got violently ill after they reportedly ordered frozen gelato and got frozen fecal matter instead. The story reads like a classic "kitchen revenge" tale, starting with the family pissing off the restaurant, who responded by taking matters into their own hands. So there's a bit of he-said/she-said element to the whole thing. But the fact that it reminds me of "2 Girls, 1 Cup" is enough to place it high on the list.
4. Frozen Custard Finger
In 2005, a man in North Carolina found a part of a worker's finger in his frozen custard. The man, upon finding it, put it in his mouth, because he thought it was a piece of candy. He found out shortly that it was not. Everything about this story nauseates me.
3. Diet Pepsi Mouse
A couple in Florida found a dead mouse in their can of Diet Pepsi back in 2009. The husband noticed it when he went to take a gulp of the soda, and realized that something was a bit off about the flavor. According to the man's wife, "it was pink, it looks like spaghetti, it's really sick." This, meanwhile, shouldn't be confused with the story earlier this year about a man in Illinois claiming to find a dead mouse in his Mountain Dew. That was already disproven after Pepsi released scientist findings that prove Mountain Dew dissolves rodent carcasses.
2. Curry Sauce Mouse
Back in 2009, a British woman had her own run-in with a dead mouse, this time in a jar of curry sauce. This jumps ahead of the other dead mouse incident only because (1) of the horrifying photo that accompanies the story; and (2) my own personal opinion that curry sauce is disgusting on its own.
1. McDonald's Chicken McHead
Ever since I first heard of this story, it's easily been the one that sits worst with me, most likely because a good portion of my childhood was spent chowing down on nuggets of various sorts. Back in 2000, Katherine Ortega from Newport News, Virginia opened up her box of McDonald's fried chicken wings -- which, apparently, McDonald's had on their Virginia menu back then -- and pulled out a fully-breaded and fried chicken head. The visuals are disgusting. (Here's a link to a news story, with all sorts of disgusting video of the McHead. But just the thought of biting into a fully formed chicken head, and all of the goings-on inside, always keeps me from being hungry for the next day.
Which means it's probably a good time I announced my brand-new fad dieting plan: The McHead Photo Viewing Diet! Start with a light breakfast, view the photo around noon right when you start to get hungry for lunch, force yourself to eat a small snack before bedtime, and start the process all over again the next day. You are guaranteed to lose weight and feel... well, not great. But did I mention the losing weight part?
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