Nobody wants to find a 3-inch-long reptile in their food, it’s very nauseating. That’s what happened to a woman in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Michelle Carr found a dead lizard in lettuce that she purchased at a Shaw’s supermarket. Carr said she doesn’t normally shop at the Shaw’s, or buy prepackaged lettuce, and she will probably never will do that again in her life.
“It was disgusting,” Carr said of 3-inch-long reptile she found. “It was a shock. I immediately started to retch.” She revealed that after washing the romaine lettuce last week, she used it to make a salad.
“I put my fork into my salad after a couple of bites and realized that my fork was not in an avocado slice,” she said. “It was a lizard.” The dead reptile was missing its tail when she found it.
“There's no way to know whether or not I actually ingested the tail or not,” Carr said. One of her friends, a New Hampshire-based biologist, identified it as a blue-bellied lizard from California.
“How could this happen?” she said. “The first time and only time I've ever bought a bag of prepackaged lettuce, this happens. Go figure.”
The incident happened at a time when Carr, a nurse, has a newborn son whom she is breast-feeding. Her main concern is about salmonella and E. coli exposure for her and her baby. “That was very, very scary for me,” she said.
She also contacted the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and Shaw’s, but said she's still waiting for more answers. Shaw’s spokesperson said the company is working with the lettuce supplier to figure out why the incident happened and also take the necessary steps to curb such incidents.
Since the lettuce was packaged outside the state, the DHHS says that the case falls outside its jurisdiction, but confirmed that the FDA is investigating the incident. She hopes that people will learn from her experience and be careful what they are buying. “It's not just something you read about in the papers,” she said. “We need to be really diligent about washing your produce no matter where you get it from.”