15 of the Grossest Things Ever Found in Food

Everyone’s found a weird hair or something unidentifiable inside food purchased in the outside world… Gross, but usually no big deal. However, sometimes something is uncovered in a burger that is disgusting enough to garner news attention (or at least a chain letter on the Internet). Whether or not the thing was in there when the waiter set the plate down is often beside the point. What matters is that it was found in the food, and someone’s definitely going to try and capitalize off it. But definitely not the guy who’s finger it used to be. Here are 15 really nasty things people have found in food they were served.

Brain Worms?!

Once you get past the shock value of “Oh my God, there’s a generic piece of medical waste/cigarette butt in my burger,” there’s a very real set of dangers that almost definitely will not be in your next meal (you hope.) Back in 2007, Renaldo Ramirez, a 50 year old native of Houston, taught himself how to cook after eating food contaminated with brain-hungry tape worms. These malnourished larvae in his brain were discovered by a doctor after Mr. Ramirez had been passed out for eight days straight. It was fortunately perfect timing since he could have been dead hours later from a disease called cysticercosis. He probably would’ve taken a used condom submerged in frog guts any day over brain eating mini-zombies.

Eww… Arby’s

If there weren’t already enough reasons to not eat at Arby’s, here’s another: In 2005, David Scheiding bit into his chicken sandwich and was met with a dangerously undercooked piece of human hand skin — fingerprints and all. According to his report, the piece of flesh was about 3/4 of an inch long and actually did not do much to ruin the already disgusting sandwich. He still sued for $50,000 and won due to the fact that when investigators arrived, the manager was nursing a wound on his hand. He admitted to cutting himself while slicing lettuce but didn’t want to waste what he thought was still perfectly good lettuce, so he put it on sandwiches and served them to poor David Scheiding. He did, however, sanitize the area thoroughly. In the official Arby’s manual, “sanitizing” does not include throwing out the contaminated food.

Domino’s goes Viral

A couple of Domino’s workers broke the first rule of food tampering: don’t get caught — especially not before the victim eats the damn thing. They also broke the second rule of food tampering: don’t post a video of you tampering with the food on YouTube. These rules were put in place for a reason, and until now have been fairly successful. There are always a few bad apples who ruin everything. Luckily, these two functioning retards were arrested and charged with “distributing prohibited foods,” a statute that really only applies to idiots and bold pedophiles on Halloween.

Oh, McNoggin

In 2000, a woman named Katherine Ortega ordered some experimental “mighty wings” from her local McDonalds in Newport News, Virginia. She was expecting something rough around the edges, a formula close to perfect but requiring a bit of tweaking before making it to the mass market. She took on the responsibility of testing it, even going so far as taking it home to her children to get additional opinions. Before even beginning the first phase of testing, Ortega noticed a glaring mistake in the preparation of the new menu item: a chicken head had been battered and fried along with the wings. Apparently confused as to which country/century they were in, her local Mickey D’s was contacted and made aware of the room they had for improvement. They assured her the recipe would be changed to not include the heads, but first made sure she had no case on which to sue, as the head didn’t count as a foreign object — just an unnecessary one.

Pepsi’s Amphibious Mystery

Picture cracking open a fresh cold Pepsi, condensation clinging to it like you were in a commercial. You take a swig straight from the can because you’re parched to the point where taking the time to get a glass of ice is unthinkable. You can almost taste the refreshment before it hits your tongue… then, BAM! The dead and rotting frog inside the can totally ruins the moment. The victims, a couple in Ormond Beach, Florida, originally assumed it was a mouse based on the pink, mousetail looking thing that fell out of the can when they dumped it onto a plate. Though eventually discovered to be a harmless frog, the couple are putting their foot down, refraining from filing suit but from now on will be pouring their Pepsi into a glass before drinking it (really, that’s what they said).

Waldorf-Astoria Disappoints

Last year, Axel Sanz-Claus, a visiting tourist from Germany, ordered a steak at the swanky Waldorf-Astoria’s Bull and Bear steakhouse. After taking a bite and and chewing for a bit, he realized there was more than just beef in his mouth. In fact, a bloody tampon had somehow made its way into the grub. Some might say the scenario seems unlikely in an upscale restaurant of that sort — the employees are paid enough to at least refrain from pulling a tampon out of themselves and putting it on a steak. The pay is deterrent, the slim chances of getting away with it is deterrent. Equally unlikely, it would seem, is the idea that someone would choose to eat a tampon with their 40 dollar steak just for the opportunity to be involved in years of legal fees and negative media attention forever dubbing you the guy who ate the bloody tampon. Seriously, how can you just not see it?

There’s no Calamari in Clam Chowder!

If there’s one thing everyone can agree on regardless of world view, it’s that used condoms shouldn’t be anywhere near food (especially as a surprise). This universal food faux pas was perpetrated at a McCormick & Schmick’s seafood restaurant in Portland, Oregon back in 2004. A customer named Laila Sultan claimed that after sending her clam chowder back to be reheated, she took a bite and chewed something for longer than usual, thinking it was rubbery calamari. What she discovered instead was a condom hidden underneath all the other things which are authorized to be in a bowl of chowder, like chunks of actual food. The case has been settled and an undisclosed settlement reached. It’s unlikely any amount of money could make her forget the moment of pulling the latex prophylactic through her lips, but there’s got to be a dollar amount that could make her remember to laugh and laugh…

Condom in Soup Incident #2

The soup was French Onion and the victim Philip Hodousek, out for an innocent dinner with the family at the local TGIF eatery. Houdousek ordered his regular french onion soup, kindly requesting they hold the condom. That last part is particularly important, and investigators were right to dwell on it for longer than seemed immediately necessary. Phillip began to eat the cheese customarily melted in the center of the soup but found part of it was stubbornly refusing to be chewed. He did some investigating of his own and discovered, to his surprise, a used condom in with the mozzarella. Fuming, he got the manager over to the table, explaining his specific request for “no condoms” and why this condom was in direct violation. The manager tried to assert it was a finger of a rubber glove from the kitchen staff until he saw that it was, indeed, a used condom. For some reason, Phillip is not planning to sue… Maybe because he’s less of a scummy opportunist than others on this list, or maybe he decided it was kinda tasty after all.

Frozen Finger

One of the more reputable finger finding stories in recent years comes from a North Carolina man named Clarence Stowers. He found one severed finger in a frozen chocolate custard purchased from Kohl’s Frozen Custard. He quickly realized what he had found after pulling the creepy digit from between his teeth. It was later uncovered that a worker at the custard factory had actually lost a finger and was looking for it. A match made in heaven — until Mr. Stowers refused to return the finger to its rightful owner. Instead, he held onto it as a memento of the time he sued that company for a lot of money after finding a finger in his frozen custard. He got given the finger and decided to take it to the next level by refusing to give one back.

Don’t mess with Wendy

The now infamous case of Anna Ayala planting and finding a finger in her Wendy’s chili has got to be a scummy move for the ages. She and her boyfriend decided to take their friend’s severed finger without telling him and put it into a cup of Wendy’s chili so as to scream bloody murder and make a killer settlement. They forgot to account for the fact that they wouldn’t be written a check on the spot, and someone would be investigating the claim and looking for the rest of the hand. Honest mistake, if you’re a dirty money-grubbing liar. They’re both in jail for about a decade, forever a warning to those trying to pull one over on the restaurant industry. Cover your bases.

Subway Stabbing

Not the grossest discovery ever, nor the safest. If this isn’t a power play from the boys at Blimpie, then what is? John Agnesini found a large serrated knife baked into his bread after walking into a franchise on West 35th st in 2008. A close call to say the least, but also kind of a brilliant hiding spot for knife if you think about it. Whoever was responsible was somewhat of a visionary in the field. Cane swords are a thing of the past — the bread knife is about to have a whole new meaning in our new sheathless society. Mr. Agnesi filed suit for a million dollars in damages and settled for an undisclosed amount, but that’s chump change compared to what the patent will be worth in 15-20 years.


At an upstate New York TGI Fridays, a man named Jack Pendelton was on a date when he found a side of broccoli served on a bed of snake’s head. After all that he decided to file a complaint with the company and the Health Dept. but did not sue. Going against the grain is usually not acceptable but in this case he gets a pass, if only for the originality factor. Forget friday, thank God it’s not a condom!


Sometimes there are things in food that were meant to be there from the start but still maintain the gross factor regardless. Apparently, a chemical called castoreum (or for the layman, Beaver Anal Glands — seriously) is commonly used in perfumes/colognes and even as a flavor enhancement in raspberry candy. It makes you wonder how they discovered that connection.

McDonald’s First Aid Kit Mixup

At a McDonalds in Virginia Beach, a man found bandages lodged in his quarter pounder back in 1994. He apparently had a severe allergic reaction and was then compelled to sign some weird contracts by the manager. Not a bad strategy on the manager’s part, really. After all, all the sympathy in the world can’t beat a signature on a carefully worded bit of corporate document. Unfortunately, it was determined he was not in a mental state capable of making legal decisions and later sued when he was perfectly capable of doing so.

BK Bonus

A couple of disgruntled employees hid a few hydrocodone pills in a fish sandwich from Burger King in February, 2010. It seems like this could be a lot grosser, but picture the moment where you bite into your delicious BK Big Fish sandwich, feeling something and realizing it’s a little blue mystery pill. You would think someone was either trying to kill you or date rape you. Who knows which way these “disgruntled employees” were headed? Probably more scary than gross, but still pretty gross. Or perhaps a bonus depending on who you ask.


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