Sure, fast food is convenient, cheap, and arguably tasty. But from time to time, consumers get a lot more than they bargain for — and we're not talking extra curly fries. From weird animal parts to syringes, here, 10 disgusting things people claim to have found lurking in their fast food:
1. An unidentifiable chicken organ
Earlier this month, a couple from the small town of Ocala, Fla., were returning from the movies and decided to swing by a local Popeye's Fried Chicken to bring home food for the young one. After opening the box's greasy lid, the pair realized they'd gotten a bit more than they'd bargained for: Dangling from a deep-fried breast piece was, allegedly, the dark, shriveled remnants of a chicken heart (or possibly a liver). "I may just stick to salads and vegetarian entrees when ordering takeout," says Mary Fischer at The Stir. "The last thing I need is to accidentally bite into a heart."
2. A syringe
A Hawaii-based soldier claims he was injured by a needle a few bites into his Burger King Triple Stacker in December 2010. According to a lawsuit filed against the burger chain, Army Staff Sgt. Clark Bartholomew was eating the meal at home when he allegedly bit into a wayward needle that made his tongue bleed. He was hospitalized for six days after another needle was found in his small intestine; Bartholomew has sued the company for "severe physical injury" to his stomach, rectum, and tongue.
3. A condom
Most kids get toys with their Happy Meals. One 7-year-old Swiss girl allegedly got a condom with her McDonald's fries. Her worried mother called the police after the 2009 incident. Police determined the oddity to be a health risk. McDonald's in Switzerland has declined to comment.
4. A knife
In 2008, a 26-year-old New Yorker accused a Subway restaurant of baking a giant knife into a loaf of bread. The "would-be sword swallower" claims he found the 7-inch knife mid-bite, and went on to sue the sandwich chain for millions, says Good.
5. A Band-Aid
One Canadian family was shocked when they allegedly found a used Band-Aid in their McDonald's fries. A 2007 legal filing states that the members of the family "immediately became queasy, light-headed, nauseous, and grew increasingly mortified" at the thought of eating food tainted by a used Band-Aid and blood. The accusers claimed that a restaurant worker came over afterward to try and get rid of the evidence. However, following an internal investigation, McDonald's Canada issued a statement saying the family's claims were bogus.
6. Deep-fried chicken head
In a story that made national headlines, an American mother of two ordered McDonald's Happy Meals for her children and a burger and fries for herself. When she saw that her kids had left a few nuggets untouched, she reached across the table only to discover what appeared to be the deep-fried head of a chicken. The McDonald's manager offered the startled family their meal on the house, and two more weeks of free meals as compensation. But the mother pressed on, suing the fast food chain for $100,000 in 2007. It's still unclear how, exactly, the head got there.
In March, Raquel House was chowing down on her McNuggets when she allegedly felt something strange in her mouth. "And that's when I saw that there was a white hair on my tongue," she told her local ABC station, "and I looked at my food, and there were feathers coming off the nugget." McDonald's said they would look into the matter.
8. Human flesh
In 2005, a Miami man was dining at his local Arby's when he found a piece of skin in his chicken sandwich. No, not chicken skin — the substance was allegedly a dangling piece of flesh about three-fourths of an inch long. "It looked like I was seeing fingerprints on it," he said. "I got sick and went to the bathroom." Health investigators talked to the restaurant manager, who noted that he was wearing a bandage on his right thumb. The manager said he had sliced the thumb while shredding lettuce, but had dumped the bin per standard safety procedure.
9. A mouse
Popeye's may serve an assortment of Cajun-inspired chicken, fish, and shrimp offerings, but mouse is not on the menu. That's why a Baltimore man was taken aback when he bit into a deep-fried piece of what was, allegedly, something small and furry. Investigating health officials said they found signs of a mouse infestation following the incident.
10. A finger
In 2005, San Jose, Calif., police were investigating the strange case of a woman who claimed to have found a finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili. In what turned out to be remarkably like a game of Clue, detectives had different ideas about where the finger might have come from: A recently deceased aunt? A mysterious ranch worker? A rural Nevada woman who lost it to a pet leopard? The answer: None of the above. Police determined that the finger belonged to a Nevada man who had given it to the woman's husband to plant in her food, hoping to scam the restaurant chain for money.