’Twas the week before Christmas, and a pregnant California woman found a bloody human fingertip in the Applebee’s Chinese chicken salad she had been enjoying with her family.
Cathleen Martin made the grim discovery on December 20 at the Paso Robles Applebee’s, according to her Santa Ana, attorney Eric Traut. The family is suing over the incident.
“It was so gross,” Martin said according to The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. “I’m on pins and needles worrying about what my family might have been exposed to.”
Alan Knapp, area director with the Applebee’s Grill and Bar franchisee Apple MidCal said in a statement, ““We take matters involving the health and safety of our guests and team members seriously.” The statement continued, “Accordingly, we immediately investigated and determined that an accident did occur in our kitchen. We discussed the matter with the Martins while still at our restaurant, shared our sincere apologies, and have continued to speak with Mrs. Martin in an effort to address her concerns.”
The employee who lost the piece of finger volunteered for medical screening, and employees at the location are being retrained, according to Knapp.
Traut told the Tribune that the Martin family have already been medically tested as a result of the incident. Traut’s office has been in contact with the company’s corporate offices, which the firm has described as cooperative.
In June 2004 a Louisiana woman who said she found a human fingertip in her Applebees chicken salad tried to take her case to court. Nola.com reported that the woman sued, unlike many other found-an-unsavory-item-in-my-food victims, who settle out of court. Ultimately the woman, who claimed she ended up with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result, lost her $89,000 lawsuit.
Traut told the Tribune that body-part-in-food discoveries are “typically very rare” and that more often he sees cases of foreign objects that cause bodily harm, “things that break teeth, cut throats.”
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