We’ve all found the occasional hair in our food and, at the very worst, a small bug. The FDA calls these “defects.” And believe it or not, there are a certain amount of infractions that are permitted in food production. Canned mushrooms, for example, can include more than 20 maggots and 75 mites; Brussels sprouts are allowed 30 or more aphids (plant lice) per 100 grams of vegetable; ground cinnamon can have 400 or more insect fragments and 22 or more rodent hairs.

As much as we’d like to think our food systems and restaurants take extra safety precautions, things do slip through the cracks. And not just tiny hairs or ground-up insects indiscernible to the naked eye—sometimes the violations are too big to ignore. From a used condom to a lizard head, here are some of the nastiest things found in food. If you’re the type to shriek at an eyelash floating in your bowl of chicken noodle soup, consider yourself lucky.

Fish Hook in Branzino

fishhook Talk about catch of the day. At NYC’s Villagio on the Park, a woman found a metal fishhook still lodged inside her plate of grilled branzino. Even worse, the customer left with cuts on her mouth and tongue. (Photo: DNA Info)

Frog in Salad

frog An employee at the Wall Street Journal uncovered a whole, green-and-brown frog in her Pret A Manger salad. Of course, it was blogged about and quickly Instagrammed. “An unfortunate piece of organic matter has made its way through,” the vice president of the chain responded. The customer received a refund and a voucher for a free lunch. The more pertinent question: Did she so back? (Photo: Wall Street Journal)


Mouse In Bread

mouse A dead mouse was found lodged into a loaf of bread ordered online from the UK’s Premier Foods. Maybe more unnerving was that part of its tail was missing. The company was forced to pay roughly $25,000 in damage. (Photo: BBC)

Megalopa in Tuna

seacreatureuse A mysterious miniature sea creature was discovered peeking out a can of Princes tuna. A photo was quickly tweeted, and the Internet struggled to identify the little guy until it was formally determined that the creature was a megalopa—an immature baby crab. The customer named it Eric. (Photo: Buzzfeed)


Lizard Parts in Salad

lizard A Manhattan woman found the head and arm of a lizard in her kale salad from the restaurant Guy and Gallard. The discovery was made mid-meal. “After a few bites, I look down at my fork, and think, oh, ‘Is that a piece of asparagus?’And then I saw that it had eyes, and an arm.” The company’s tagline adds to the irony: “It’s what’s inside that counts, with people and with food.” (Photo: Gothamist)

Used Condom in Rice

condom A Beijing university student unearthed a used condom in his cafeteria meal, mixed into his bowl of rice. One of the workers told him it was a sausage skin to which he promptly replied on social media: “What an idiot! There’s no way a university student wouldn’t understand the difference between a sausage and a condom!!!” (Photo: RocketNews24)


Cigarette Butt in Rice

cigarette Smoked food has never been more unappetizing. A cigarette butt was seen in a takeout container of fried rice from a Chinese restaurant in South East England. The discovery was made when the customer was reheating her food and noticed an overpowering fume. “Me and my daughter must have had seven or eight spoonfuls before I found the cigarette butt,” she told Yahoo News. The restaurant insisted that it was not responsible. (Photo: Yahoo)

Oven Mitt in Bread

ovenmitt A shredded oven mitt made of burlap was found baked in a loaf of bread in Northern Ireland (looks frighteningly like hair, no?). The company was promptly fined, though seeing the photo, we wonder how the woman didn’t notice the faux pas earlier. (Photo: Metro)


Finger in Prison Food

fingercornbread-flickr_stevenjohnson A California inmate was eating cornbread when he detected a “crunchy object.” It was someone’s fingertip. The food company (not another inmate, mind you) admitted to the error. Shortly after, the inmate lost 15 pounds in six days and received extensive counseling—he was vegetarian, after all. (Photo: Steve Johnson/Flickr)

Plastic in Noodles

ricenoodlesuse This one is subtler: A man in Los Angeles discovered plastic shaped like noodles mixed into his bag of rice noodles. As proof, he posted a video of himself on YouTube melting the plastic material and burning the real noodles. The company confirmed the find, and said internal footage showed a disgruntled employee shredding plastic sleeves and putting it in a bag. “We’ve been in business for 30 years,” the company told Pasadena Star News. “We do not pride ourselves on putting plastic in our noodles. Plastic is more expensive than rice.” (Photo: Pasadena Star)