Imagine you’re making a pizza and as the last bit of sauce pours out of the jar, a severed iguana leg falls onto your pie.
This happened to Suzanne Abercrombie of Fort Myers, after buying a 14-ounce jar of Mantia’s pizza sauce from Save-a-Lot and using it for several days.
Abercrombie became ill after making her first pizza. She only used half the jar and never noticed the mystery ingredient inside.
“I got really sick, I stayed in bed and called off work.”
This cost her about $500 (Florida’s employers are notorious for skimping out on sick days… right to work state)
After a few days of feeling sick, she made another pizza, and this popped out:
“When I used the rest of the jar, that’s when it fell out… It was about three-and-a-half inches long and looked like an arm.”
She claims it was an iguana’s leg:
“It was definitely an appendage, it was rubbery and fleshy.”
Abercombie took the jar back to the Save-A-Lot store in San Carlos Park where she bought it, which she said freaked out workers.
She said she was offered a gallon of milk or wine in replacement but declined.
She felt frustrated and then took it the corporate level. Apparently she sent them a sample of the mystery object to examine…
Arian Regensburger, consumer affairs specialist for LiDestri Food & Drink of Fairport, N.Y., which bottles the sauce, insisted in a letter to Abercrombie and in a telephone interview with The News-Press, that the substance found was simply mold.
“We received the material and the jar; which was then turned over to our Quality Control department. … Material investigated along with packaging,” she responded to Abercrombie in the May 4 letter.
“Findings are as followed: Material found to be moldy tomato sauce,” the letter continued. “Material did not come from any Reptile, Amphibian, and or small Mammal. It is moldy tomato sauce.”
Regensburger pleaded that jars are checked twice at the plant but that sometimes things happen after they are shipped.
“Anything can happen…”
…explained the consumer affairs specialist Regensburger wearing a public relations grin, who was probably not too surprised that it was Florida who discovered this oddity…
“The jars get bumped, lids can come undone and mold will form underneath. It’s hard to tell.”
Regensburger said the case was handed over to an insurance company and she was not sure what the determination was after that.
Abercrombie said the last thing she heard was the letter saying the substance was mold and never heard anything from an insurance company.
“I’m kind of mad about it, I’m out $500.”
She talked to a lawyer, but decided that the efforts of litigation would be far too costly for her.