In June 2022, a photograph that supposedly showed a toad in a sealed tub of Blue Bunny ice cream was widely circulated online. It was often shared as a product purchased at a Walmart, but we're skeptical of the entire claim:
We reached out to Blue Bunny ice cream for more information and we will update this article accordingly. In the meantime, consider several reasons to be skeptical of this claim.
This viral picture was shared by a number of social media accounts along with a piece of copypasta that stated:
So I literally just bought this @Blue_Bunny ice cream from hyvee. Morgan opened it tonight and look at what was in it. This has to come from the factory this way bc it was sealed. Guess I will be taking it back to the store bc they won't believe me if I just tell them.
These three people obviously didn't all buy the same tub of ice cream. While it's possible that one of these accounts has first-hand knowledge of this photograph, the majority of people sharing this image are doing so without first-hand information about what it actually shows.
Lack of Details
This viral claim also didn't contain any details about where this photograph was taken. While the above-displayed posts mention the grocery store Hy-Vee, they don't include any specifics about which Hy-Vee store. Furthermore, other versions of this photograph also claimed it was from a Walmart.
The photographic evidence is lacking. This viral rumor holds that a toad was found inside a sealed tub of ice cream that was purchased at an unnamed store. But looking at only the photograph itself, there's no way to tell if this ice cream was sealed with the frog inside. While it might be possible for a frog to get into an ice cream facility, it seems more likely that it would jump into a vat of ice cream and get mixed in with the product, as opposed to jumping on top of a tub of ice cream just as it was getting sealed. In that case, the frog would be found somewhere in the middle of the bucket, not right on top.
It's possible that someone bought a tub of ice cream, opened it, placed a toad on top of the ice cream, closed it, then put it back in the freezer. While you might think that nobody would ever do that, similar instances have truly occurred.
Rumors about mice being found in soda pop bottles or rats being found in Kentucky Fried Chicken buckets have been around for decades. And while lawsuits have truly been filed for finding foreign contaminants in food or beverage products, many of these claims have been exaggerated over the years, while some have turned out to be outright hoaxes.
In 1997, for example, a man was arrested by the FBI for attempting to extort millions of dollars from McDonald's by threatening to publicly (and falsely) claim that he found a rat tail in his French fries. The Washington Post reported:
Michael F. Zanakis, 43, was charged with attempting to extort $5 million from McDonald's Corp. by threatening to publicize the crisp rat tail he said he found among the french fries in his son's Happy Meal. Zanakis's research, the 23-count federal indictment pointed out, involved laboratory rats. He was also charged with extorting $4,600 from Coca-Cola Corp. three years before that by claiming he'd swallowed "small bits of greasy particles" from a can of Coca-Cola Classic. In both cases, prosecutors allege, Zanakis placed the foreign matter in the food himself.
We reached out to Wells Enterprises, the company that makes Blue Bunny ice cream, for additional information about this viral photo. While Wells did not respond to us directly, a spokesperson for ICF Next, a consulting agency that represents the company, sent us the following statement on Wells' behalf:
'Wells Enterprises launched an investigation into this incident immediately upon learning of it, in addition to reaching out directly to the affected consumer. We acknowledge the product in question is made by Wells Enterprises and, through our investigation, we confirmed this could not have occurred during our manufacturing process, but instead would have taken place after the product left our facility. Product safety is our top priority at Wells, and we consistently achieve the highest quality standards in our facilities and in our manufacturing processes. We have robust quality systems in place, and constantly evaluate our standards and processes to prevent anything like this from happening.'