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Ethical question about finding a nail (carpenter, not finger) in packaged salad blend.

c
chefdaddyo Feb 7, 2011 10:26 AM

Last night, I chomped down on a 1 1/2" finishing nail in my salad. The bag was from a major CA company, whose products we like. No construction projects going on in the kitchen, so there's no doubt where it came from. My choppers are fine, no damage there. I think I'll mail it to the CA headquarters, because if it were my company, I'd like to know. Any thoughts? Thanks.

  1. chowser Feb 7, 2011 10:28 AM

    Call them. They keep records of it and will probably send you free coupons. You'd be surprised at the things found in the salads because it's such a large processing plant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowser
      sunshine842 Feb 7, 2011 10:33 AM

      with the bag, if you still have it, as it has the lot numbers and other pertinent information stamped on it.

      1. re: sunshine842
        chowser Feb 7, 2011 10:50 AM

        Yes, good reminder.

    2. coll Feb 7, 2011 10:38 AM

      That happened at my restaurant once, the nail came from the wooden box. That was loose lettuce, not sure about yours.

      3 Replies
      1. re: coll
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        chefdaddyo Feb 7, 2011 03:17 PM

        I mailed it today. Taped the rusty nail to an index card. I basically said "found this, love your products, teeth okay, and no legal counsel. If I were running your show, I'd like any and all feedback." I did not leave phone info ( I have a listed number ), taped the barcode to the card, and pasted my return address on the envelope. I promise I'll let you know if anything develops.

        1. re: chefdaddyo
          c
          Cathy Feb 8, 2011 05:27 AM

          Not barcode, but the expiration date code information printed on the bag...and where purchased. That is more indivdual information they need to know date and place processed.

          1. re: chefdaddyo
            rworange Feb 9, 2011 07:28 PM

            Are you planning to buy their product again? What if there is no reply? Would that change how you feel about the company?

        2. j
          joe777cool Feb 7, 2011 03:30 PM

          get a tetanus shot!!!

          1. Delucacheesemonger Feb 8, 2011 05:27 AM

            Suppose this is why we should not assume that our 'cleaned' salad greens are really cleaned. Thus it pays to check them, as you were lucky and could have broken a tooth or far worse.

            1. b
              beevod Feb 8, 2011 07:45 AM

              Should have saved the nail. Never know when you might decide to remodel your kitchen.

              1. Gio Feb 8, 2011 07:49 AM

                I would have taken a photo of the offending nail and kept it as proof. When ever I have to buy a bagged item such as spinach for example... I Always wash/rinse before using. Glad your teeth are OK.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Gio
                  GraydonCarter Feb 10, 2011 06:09 AM

                  Wow, even for packaged salads? Like the Dole Salad Blends? "DOLE Salad Blend is triple washed and ready-to-eat. As a result, it is not necessary to wash the salad prior to eating. Nevertheless, rinsing your salad again will not damage the lettuce in any way."

                2. j
                  jujuthomas Feb 8, 2011 08:43 AM

                  Wow, glad you were not injured. I'll be interested to hear if they respond. I'll have to remember to be more aware next time I buy bagged salad.

                  1. chowser Feb 8, 2011 01:36 PM

                    Having worked for a couple of large bagged salad producers (many, many years ago), we have to remember that these are factory produced goods and machines cut/tear/bag/wash everything. There's always the possibility that something drops into the bag, whether it be a machine part or a bug or whatever. They do try to prevent it but these are huge factories. That's why I said to report it because they do keep track of these things and try to reduce incidences like that. But, as others have said, because it is so mass produced, it's a good idea to look through your greens. The most common object found are bugs, understandably because it is grown outdoors.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: chowser
                      c
                      chefdaddyo Feb 8, 2011 04:04 PM

                      Another thought tonight. 25 years ago, as a chef in Manhattan (upper east side), a customer found a very small piece of 'greenish glass' in their salad. This was my first dillema as "Head Chef". I studied the basement (prep area) ceiling, watched the dishwasher's daily tasks; it pained me that this piece of glass found it's way into my spotless kitchen. It looked like a piece of washed glass or something you'd buy online (ebay type) as sea glass. Fastforward 15 years: in Manhattan daydreaning at a red light. Glance to the left---delivery driver has a handtruck delivering to a basement of a restaurant. Delivery guy has handtruck loaded w/ about 5-6 cases of stuff. On top of the pile - - - a 5lb loose bag of bleu cheese crumble. As I glanced at the yellow traffic light, the plastic bag of cheese slammed on the concrete. That's where it picked up that singular piece of green glass!!! Go figure!

                      1. re: chefdaddyo
                        monku Feb 9, 2011 07:51 PM

                        Reminds me of a place I worked at.
                        Customer found a piece of a mop head string in their salad. Turns out the night cleaning crew was using the sinks behind the cooking line to clean their floor mops and the cooks didn't look closely when they filled them up to wash the lettuce. Stupid on both their parts.

                    2. p
                      Phyrie Feb 9, 2011 06:55 PM

                      A few years ago, six members of our family were having lunch out. My elderly grandfather was very surprised to pull a bright red push pin out of his mouth! It was in a bite of his salad! He put the pin to the side of the plate, and wasn't going to say anything, but I called over the waitress. That thing could have (but didn't) seriously injured my grandpa! The waitress was surprised when shown the tack, and was nice enough to take it away. Leaving the salad. And leaving it on the bill. We didn't eat there again.

                      On a happier note, my husband found some weird fibrous material in several separate bags of the same kind of cookies. We sent the material to the manufacturer, and they sent back coupons for half a dozen bags of cookies, and a thorough explanation: one of the conveyor belts used in production had become frayed, and because we had informed them of the problem, they were able to go ahead and repair the belt.

                      If it was my product, I would absolutely want to know.

                      1. sunshine842 Feb 10, 2011 02:40 AM

                        You're to be commended, by the way, for being so matter-of-fact and NOT hysterical.

                        There's some liability lawyer affiliated with that company who prays for your mortal soul in gratitude.

                        1. a
                          AdamD Feb 10, 2011 09:34 AM

                          Being a lawyer, I would have contacted counsel and had the company pay for a dental and medical exam (tetanus shot) because you never know. No need to sue for damages unless the dentist finds something.

                          That is what law school does to your brain.

                          1. CindyJ Feb 10, 2011 02:16 PM

                            I would have phoned the company before sending the nail back. A couple of months ago, I opened a can of Progresso soup and there was something unidentifiable in it. It was yellow, about the size and color of a kernel of corn, but it definitely wasn't corn. I phoned the customer service number on the soup can and the rep I spoke with asked me for all kinds of info -- bar code on the can, numbers stamped on the can, where I'd bought it and how long ago. Then she said she wanted to send me a special mailer kit so I could send back the thing I'd found. She explained that I'd be sending it back directly to their lab, where they'd do an analysis of the substance, and she asked me to keep it in a baggie in my freezer until the mailer arrived.

                            My point is in saying I would have phoned first is that the company should be VERY concerned about something like a nail in their packaged food products, and should want to track down the cause and location of the problem. There might have been information in addition to that which you provided in your note that might have helped them accomplish that.

                            BTW, Progresso did send me a handful of free product coupons.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CindyJ
                              gaffk Feb 10, 2011 03:38 PM

                              Agreed. I had a similar experience years ago with a Pepsi product. I was pouring it into a glass (thankfully) , when I noticed a plasticy substance stuck in the can opening. I called the 1-800 number, and like you, was asked questions regarding bar codes, numbers on the can, place and date of purchase, etc. They sent me a special mailer kit addressed to their lab. I thought it was a good sign that they were so concerned about their quality control.

                              And yes, lots of coupons for freebies.

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