We’re all about adding unique ingredients to spice up your salads, but finding one you definitely didn’t plan to eat is not on the menu. That’s what happened to poor Michelle Carr, a nurse in Maine, who discovered a three-inch dead lizard on her fork after digging in.
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“I immediately started to retch,” she told local news WMUR in the video below. She had picked up a bag of romaine lettuce at a nearby New Hampshire grocery store, washed it, and prepared what she thought was about to be a tasty, nutritious meal. After returning to her bowl a few times, she suddenly realized, “My fork was not in an avocado slice.”
Unfortunately, this gross-out story gets worse: The dead lizard was missing its tail. Carr isn’t sure if she—shudder—ate the tail or not. Because she’s breastfeeding her newborn son, she was immediately concerned about food-borne bugs she could have been exposed to, like E. coli or salmonella. She reported the creepy-crawly to the state FDA and the grocery store where she picked up the questionable romaine. The store has said it’s working with its lettuce supplier to figure out how this could have happened.
“The first time and only time I’ve ever bought a bag of pre-packaged lettuce, go figure,” Carr said.
While the FDA says you can use pre-washed, ready-to-eat packaged produce without another rinse, Carr added, “We need to be really diligent about washing your produce no matter where you get it from.” Make sure to also check the “sell by” and “use by” dates of bagged lettuce carefully, as E. coli might grow more rapidly on older greens.
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If you’re not yet queasy enough, know that this isn’t the first time an animal that really doesn’t belong has turned up in a salad bowl. In April 2017, two people in Florida found a bat in a bag of salad they ate the day before. Also that year, a woman who found a small frog in store-bought salad kept it as a pet. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Whatever you do, please don’t use these nauseating stories as an excuse to skip your greens. The chances of discovering a lizard in your salad—or some other truly bizarre object or animal—are teeny compared to the health benefits of getting enough fruits and veggies, promise.