Rat Salad

imageTodd Haley, a Dallas Cowboys assistant coach, issued a lawsuit against McDonalds on Thursday. He alleges that his wife and au pair found a dead rat in their take-away salad this June.

The story goes that, on June 5th, Christine Haley and Kathryn Kelley ordered $14 of food, including the salad. They drove home, where they both ate some of the salad before uncovering a young, dead rat (pictured right, the rat has been digitally coloured to show up as blue).

The rat was determined to be a ‘roof rat’, a breed which live in the rafters and can pass on such diseases as bubonic plague and endemic typhus. The two women say they are haunted by this knowledge and fear they may have caught a disease. Mrs Haley was breastfeeding at the time, and switched to formula milk in case she passed illness to her child. She claims this caused her mental anguish.

Since eating salad that may have touched the rat and touching the dead rodent with their forks, the women have had difficulty keeping food down and can no longer go out to eat, the lawsuit states. They are forced to prepare their food "from scratch, allowing themselves to see each ingredient placed in the dish they are cooking," the suit states…
While neither woman has tested positive for any disease, both have been in counseling for the phobia and anticipate about a year more of therapy.

Tod Haley and the two women are suing the restaurant, the franchise owner and KLB Group for a minimum of $1.7 million in physical and mental pain and anguish.

(Thanks, Charybdis.)

Animals Food Gross

Posted on Mon Oct 30, 2006


If you're entitled to $1.7 million whenever you see something disgusting in your food, I think I'm owed this for every time I've been in a McDonalds.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  11:08 AM
I can totally relate to the mental anguish thing...I get that way after I have cleaned out my fridge...I sometimes can't eat for days.

Not only should they have sued for the problems for the women...but have found some La Leche League leader to testify of the evils of giving a child formula - and gotten punitive dmgs for the "future" effects of having given formula to the infant. 😊
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  11:30 AM
I was going to ask about this and alex,please make a category for disgusting things in food.I noticed in the Guardian that one of the women fell ill.Also the fact he sued makes the story less reliable.Anyway,how could the roof rat get in the food?
Posted by J  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  12:37 PM
"They are forced to prepare their food from scratch"

The Horror!!
Posted by robert.wood  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  02:38 PM
It's amazing how $1.7 million can give you your appetite back. Someone should do a study on the benefits of cash for curing psychological eating disorders.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  04:45 PM
In business class a couple years back I remember studying about consumers suing big corporations, and how it is almost impossible to sue McDonalds. They are sued all the time and have a very capable, well paid law team and rarely lose these lawsuits.

I'm sure most of you have heard about the elderly lady who burned herself with coffee and got something like 90 million, but that was one of the few exceptions. Evidently, the McDonalds coffee had badly burned and mutilated her genitals.
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  05:22 PM
People who think they are putting the screws to big business by suing are just screwing the ordinary consumer. Because of all these law suits, the big fast food chains are forced to raise their prices to cover the increasing cost of liability insurance. So who pays? You and me. But of course if you're on the receiving end of $1.7 million, you don't give a shit about everyone else. Thanks.

Did that clumsy lady get $90 million? I thought it was more like $70,000. Maybe the story just keeps getting better as time goes by. I'll have to check that one out.
Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  06:30 PM
According to Wikipedia, the jury awarded that lady $2.7 million and the judge reduced it to $640,000. Both parties appealed the decision and then settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Too bad McDonalds had to take the blame for their customers stupidity. And as I said before, it's the average consumer that pays in the end.

Posted by Captain Al  in  Vancouver Island, Canada  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  06:52 PM
Some of the more mnemonic amongst you may recall my posting and link from about a year and a half ago, where I offered photographic proof that George W. Bush Eats Dead Rats. Oh, you laughed at the time, you said, oh that Hairy, what a card, But now, Now, NOW you know it's true, dontcha? Admit it. Say it with me now: "George W. Bush Eats Dead Rats, and he won't share." Feels good, dunnit? Yeah... ooo- I got goose bumps (which I wouldn't want to find in a salad either)
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  07:02 PM
Oh God!!! Yuuuuckkkk
Posted by Amy  on  Mon Oct 30, 2006  at  07:54 PM
Eating rat didn't make me sick or give me phobias. Okay, I did it just to see what it tasted like. Maybe the thought of a big payout helped them get sick and phobic. Every time I cook grey squirrel I know I'm cooking fluffy-tailed tree rat, but it's nicer than eating the burgerised bits of cow that don't get mentioned in polite conversation.
Posted by Lou  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  06:11 AM
Oops! sorry, I forgot to mention that my figure has been adjusted for inflation ;P
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  11:21 AM
Captain Al, when I first heard of that McDonalds coffee thing I felt the same as you. However, I no longer feel that way.

First, there is a huge difference between a hot cup of coffee and a SCALDING hot cup of coffee. (acceptable temps for the serving of hot beverages to the general public are between 135 and 140 degrees F, the McD's coffee was found to be between 180 and 190 degrees F)

It wasn't so much a matter of whose fault it was that the coffee spilled, it's a matter of acceptable temperatures of hot beverages. This coffee was way beyond acceptable limits as proven by the extent of her burns and investigation after the incident.

The wounds this lady suffered are horrifying and much more extreme than what would happen if you spilled a cup of hot coffee on your lap.

Also, she sought to settle with Mickey D's for 20 grand, they refused hence the lawsuit.


ok ok, it's way off topic but I can never resist a chance to put in my two cents for the underdog
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  02:02 PM
I remember a couple of news sites at the time reporting that that particular McDonald's had received many complaints about the temperature of their coffee. Granted, the judgement was ludicrous, but the lawsuit itself was far from it. It just doesn't make as good a story if she had a legitimate complaint.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  03:12 PM
In addition to evidence that McDonald's had ignored many complaints about its coffee being too hot, the trial included evidence that McDonald's deliberately kept its coffee at that temperature so that no one could finish drinking it in time to ask for a free refill. The poor woman had to have skin grafts. That award was not excessive.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  04:12 PM
Why is the rat colored blue? Am I missing something here?
Posted by Ty  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  06:07 PM
I'm having trouble seeing the blue thing as a rat. It just looks like a big blue clump. Where's the head?
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  08:49 PM
Re: McDonald's

Sigh. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), coffee should be brewed between 197 and 204 degrees.

Anyone who serves coffee below 150 degrees is serving liquid garbage.

Please, in the future do your actual research instead of spouting bullshit spewed out by the claimant in this case.

The woman was a moron and didn't deserve a penny.
Posted by Joe  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  10:25 PM
Rat Salad happens to be a Black Sabbath song title.... hmmmmmm.
Posted by katey  on  Tue Oct 31, 2006  at  10:26 PM
I think there's a vast difference between the tempreature the coffee gets brewed at, and the temperature it is subsequently HELD at prior to serving. I like my coffee hot and all, but I'd like to keep the skin inside my mouth where it is, thanks.

If you're serving crappy fast-food coffee at temperatures so high multiple people actually bother to take the time to COMPLAIN about it (pre-lawsuit!), you're just making it super-hot to disguise the crappyness.
Posted by Ponygirl  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  02:58 AM
Yeah, the MacD's coffee-cup case is a textbook example of a 'frivolous' suit that actually wasn't frivolous.

These cases where shit is found in food shouldn't really be the subject of major lawsuits but of punitive public health fines. But I guess it's natural for individuals to want to get the money themselves...

As to this specific rat - bubonc plague? Is that a big problem in Dallas these days?
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  04:31 AM
If I found a rat in my food, hell yeah I would sue. Sorry, but I just don't see anything wrong about that. If McDonald's didn't want to be sued, maybe they shouldn't have let a rat get into the salad.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  06:17 AM
OK, fine, sue, whatever. But what's that really worth in terms of distress etc? A couple of hundred bucks? Certainly not thousands, still less millions.
Posted by outeast  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  06:19 AM
Qoute from 'Joe'

Please, in the future do your actual research instead of spouting bullshit spewed out by the claimant in this case.

The woman was a moron and didn't deserve a penny.

ummm, dude, if you had bothered to do your research you would see that the data I provided was from an unbiased legal source. Matter of fact, I will provide one more link that corroborates my previous data.


So, maybe you should stop spouting "bullshit" and recklessly throwing around insults. It makes you look stupid.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  06:22 AM
The rat was digitally colored blue to make it more visible in the photo. Seems a bit odd to me, but there you go.
Posted by Charybdis  in  Hell  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:13 AM
I'm all for throwing out frivolous law suits...But if I had something in my food, I would go ballistic. The images, the feeling, the thoughts...would probably haunt me FOREVER. I saw an orange once, that had maggots in it - haven't forgotten it!! Can't get it out of my head. Granted, I didn't eat that...but if I am eating an orange...and that image comes up - no more orange for me!

I would have asked for a lot more. And P.S. preparing all food from scratch - takes a Hell of a lot of time to do. Although, if you've got an au pair - it's not like you're fighting with the kids while you're making dinner.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  09:34 AM
The suits involve a lot of money because lawyers have to get paid in order to work for you. And they like money a lot (who can blame them for liking money? I do too.)
Posted by cvirtue  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  10:46 AM
Plus, usually the plaintiffs will ask for far more money than they want to expect to get. It's kind of like haggling for a new car. You ask for a crazy high amount and then bring it down over negotiations to an agreeable amount.
Posted by Razela  in  Chicago, IL  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  10:55 AM
I'm all for throwing out frivolous law suits...But if I had something in my food, I would go ballistic.

Exactly. I don't see how suing for finding a rat in your food and suing is "frivolous." I don't like frivolous lawsuits as much as anyone, but come on. If the lady was looking in her bag of food and tripped, then sued McDonalds because she was distracted by their food, THAT would be what I called frivolous.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  11:37 AM
Precisely. I don't even think it's that big of a deal that she "could have" been given the black plague...but the grossnessof the whole thing - ICK. I was never very queasy over stuff like this...maybe it had something to do with getting morning sickness while I was pregnant...I seem to get queasy & grossed out a lot more easily now. I can also vomit now, if I need to get out of something (like an annoying appointment or something).
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  11:43 AM
Quote from 'Joe'

The woman was a moron and didn't deserve a penny.

I disagree. In our society today, I see the consumer as having MUCH LESS power than the giant corporations. Consumers need to fight occasionally to make sure that these corporations treat us as we should be treated.

I whole heartedly support this lawsuit concerning the salad rat. Then maybe McDonalds and other fast food chains will be EXTRA careful to make sure that rats or other grossities do not end up in the food they serve to us.
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  01:12 PM
I wonder, though...how liable THAT particular McDonald's was...b/c whenever I have gotten a salad, they are pre-packaged & they will not take anything out of it...(like if I want them to hold the tomato). Sooo...I wonder where the packaging was done?? It's not like the rat could have eaten through the plastic & died in the lettuce. You would notice a hole in the container...mostly b/c lettuce would be falling out!
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  01:58 PM
Maegan, I have never worked at a McDonalds but I am pretty sure they are pre-made at the individual store, sort of an assembly line thing prior to the lunch rush.

I don't believe they are delivered to the stores pre-made or pre-packaged. I could be wrong but that strikes me as the logical way to go about it.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  02:52 PM
"Rat Salad happens to be a Black Sabbath song title..."

You mean the musicians from Black Sabbath have been eating at McDonalds?
Now THAT'S scary!
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  03:41 PM
outeast in Prague said:
"As to this specific rat - bubonc plague? Is that a big problem in Dallas these days?"

Well, now that you mention it, I've been feeling a bit under the weather, but it could be West Nile Virus.
You are still coming for Thanksgiving, aren't you? I'll make my special salad.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  05:55 PM
"I'm having trouble seeing the blue thing as a rat. It just looks like a big blue clump. Where's the head?"
--Posted by Razela in Tucson, AZ on Tue Oct 31, 2006

Well, <a >this might help a bit</a>. And the rat's belly-up.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:31 PM
hmmm... compensatory awards reflect monetary damages doen to the plaintiff, ie.: loss of wages, medical costs, the $14 for the meal, etc. Punitive awards are designed to (duh) punish the defendant so that the event will likely never happen again. Personally, if i found a rat in a MickeyMeal, I'd snap, puke, and sue, in that order. 1.7 mil? Hell, yes
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Wed Nov 01, 2006  at  08:48 PM
Punish McD's, whatever. Why should that go to the plaintiffs? I think you guys must be losing all sense of the value of money - ffs, it's a just rat! 1.7 mil? That's more than I'm likely to earn in my entire life! That's fucking insane... I'd rather find a rat in a salad than work for a week, let alone a lifetime:)

As to Meagan's 'preparing all food from scratch - takes a Hell of a lot of time to do.' Kerist, I routinely prepare almost all meals for my family from scratch. It really is not that big a deal. And I can't even afford an au pair:)

Anyway, this whole thing reeks - no way a whole rat would end up in a salad unspotted. I'd say this is either another con attempt or some employee with a grudge.
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  12:48 AM
When you say "from scratch", I hope that means you aren't buying pre-made noodles, prepared pasta sauces, or already rolled & chilled pie crusts!!

Making things "from scratch" & preparing a meal from many sources of prepared items are very different. A "from scratch" casserole that uses packaged noodles, already shredded cheese, frozen veggies, & canned tuna is HARDLY "from scratch".

And I notice you said "almost"...so it's not quite THAT convenient to do IS IT? Keeping fresh items on hand to create a "from scratch" meal means lots of trips to the grocery store per week - I know our family will use up about 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce & about 6-8 tomatoes in a week. If I bought 6-8 tomatoes at a time, I'd have too mushy tomatoes at the end of the week & wilted lettuce after 3 or 4 days. So I still maintain that making EVERY meal from scratch would be quite the hassel.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  06:52 AM
I certainly never use ready-made sauces or pre-shredded cheese, no. Of course there's something to be said for the odd short-cut for convenience's sake when trying to ready a meal in the slim time between working late and putting the baby to bed, but the loss of such conveniences would not be so bad (there are plenty of meals that can be readied in only a few minutes, after all).

As to frozen veggies and ready-made noodles, I rather doubt that these women are refusing to eat pasta out of a packet*. Hell, maybe they are - maybe they're refusing to eat anything they don't pick from the trees themselves, but I really, really, really doubt it.

*And why stop there? Who knows what goes on in those mills... Or in the cornfields, yuk, I don't even want to think about that... Ah, breatharianism! That's more like it!
Posted by outeast  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  07:13 AM
I have a question, when those salads are made up are they done in a factory or at the resturant? I just can't believe that you can find something like that these days. Oh yea one more thing, how big are those salads that you would not see something like that before you took a bite? come on something is just not right here!
Posted by FREEDOM LAD  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  02:10 PM
freedom, Maegan asked somewhat the same question earlier in this thread and I replied that while I didn't know for sure, I believe they are pre made at the individual restaurant.

Maybe someone who works(worked)for McRonalds knows for sure?
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  02:40 PM
The bowl is pretty big. I have had them before...I would say the bowl is about as big around as a medium sized dinner plate. On the website it says the salads (no chicken) are around 8 ounces. With chicken, they are closer to 11-12 ounces. I know that 6 regular pieces of uncut romain lettuce can weight about 1.5-2 ounces total. Also, the lid is domed, so the whole package ends up being a good 4-6 inches high. Maybe. I haven't had one in a while.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  03:02 PM
Even if the salad is prepared in the actual restaurant, that doesn't mean that they don't get bags of pre-chopped and sliced lettuce and tomato and whatnot. It is possible, I suppose, for the rat to have gotten into the lettuce at the processing plant, been bagged, and then shipped to McDonald's.

So probably the rat could have gotten into the salad at several different times and places: at the processing plant for the vegetables, at the McDonald's (which I would think would really be the least likely place), or it could have been planted there when the people got home.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Nov 02, 2006  at  03:37 PM
I had a salad with a live spider in it once... I went to poke my fork into the greens after eating about half of it... And the spider stuck its front legs up in the air defensively... I threw the salad away... it never came across my mind to sue anyone... and Im deathly afraid of spiders.

Course it wasnt a rat but...
Posted by Emidawg  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  12:14 AM
Years ago I found a hunk of glass in a mug of beer at an Outback steak house - looking back I should have made a big stink about it - especially since all they did for me was take the beer off my bill.

Also had a roach in a chicken/pasta dish at a local diner - my wife, kids and I just got up and walked out.

We never went back and call it the "bug diner" whenever we pass by.
Posted by Mike  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  09:31 AM
Ty sez:
"Why is the rat colored blue? ..."

Bleu Cheese Dressing?
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  09:51 AM
I cut open a Salisbury steak once and had a live cockroach crawl out of it, run across the table, drop to the floor, and scurry away. That worried me for a number of reasons. But I just told the manager that I wasn't going to pay for the (uneaten) meal and never went back there again. Perhaps I should have filed a joint lawsuit along with the roach, to cover the emotional trauma done to both of us.

Of course, then there are the dishes that are supposed to have bugs in them. . .I suppose I could sue for there not being a roach in one of those.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  12:13 PM
Back when my famliy first moved back to Texas my grandfather used to love going to eat at this buffet place. One night he took us out there and my mom found a fly in the gravy. The place is still open but we have never been back since.
Posted by Dany  in  Waco, Texas  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  12:59 PM
one time, I went to eat a rat and there was a nasty ol' McD's burger in it...talk about disgusting.
Posted by Chuck  in  Rhode Island  on  Fri Nov 03, 2006  at  01:08 PM
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