ELDON, Mo. — Courtney Pannell and his wife Miranda were cooking dinner in their Eldon home when Miranda noticed something strange in the green beans she was simmering on the stove. When they fished it out of the pot, Pannell says he could tell that it was a mouse.
“We put it in a clear glass and you could definitely see that there was hair and a lot of flesh with it. You could definitely tell it was a creature,” Pannell said.
When they inspected the can of Del Monte French Cut Green Beans, they saw that the mouse appeared to have rusted-out part of the inside of the can. Pannell called the Del Monte helpline, since the mouse seemed to only be in pieces and he wanted to alert the company in case there were other cans that had been contaminated.
“I wanted to be sure that somebody else hadn’t got the rest of it. So I called the company and they kind of acted like it was just mold and this had happened before. But I was like no, this has fur and meat attached to it,” he said.
Del Monte told Pannell to send the specimen off to a third party lab. Pannell still kept back half of the sample in case they tried to tell him that it wasn’t a rodent: he wanted a way to test it at a lab of his choosing.
But a letter from the lab and a letter from Del Monte both confirmed that the sample was the tissue of a small mammal. In the letter from Del Monte, the company said the incident was “highly unusual.” They also sent Pannell a check for $25 dollars and a few coupons as a “gesture of goodwill” according to the letter.
But Pannell is most worried about his family and other families that might have found mouse parts in their cans of vegetables.
“My only thought about that was that I have a one-year-old and he’s just in the process of eating greens like that,” Pannell said, adding, “Was the mouse poisoned before it fell in the can? That can could have been fed to my kid.”