Fact Check

Frog Salad

Photograph shows a frog found in a live packaged salad product?

Published Aug. 28, 2006


Claim:   Photograph shows a live frog found in a packaged salad product.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 2006]

Look closely at the package. Just below the lettering.

Don't forget this brand of fresh lettuce, folks. What probably happened is, the water the lettuce was washed in contained polliwogs and these became fresh new frogs, right in the packages. So if you're looking for salad fixins with a little more "body," then be sure and try this brand. Don't forget, it's the extra care that Mexican companies take that makes the difference.

Click photo to enlarge

Origins:   The above photograph accompanied a news story that received a small amount of news coverage around May 2006 after a consumer claimed to have

purchased a Florette-brand bagged salad product containing a live frog. (Contrary to the text accompanying the photo in the "Example" box above, Florette is based in Europe, not Mexico.) As far as we know, no conclusive determination has been made about the incident; whether (as often happens) the animal was deliberately placed in the package by the consumer as a hoax, whether someone introduced it into the package after production as a prank, or whether it was trapped in the bag during the production process.

Claims by consumers of finding frogs in salad products are not uncommon and appear in the news fairly regularly. Just today, for example, the following story about a consumer who supposedly found a frog in a Sainsbury's-brand bagged salad product turned up in The Sun (an English tabloid):

Al Caine was hopping mad after this FROG jumped out of his Sainsbury's salad.

IT company boss Al, 39, was about to munch the £1.69 Organic Watercress, Spinach and Rocket when the creature shot from his plate.

He chased the green, 3/4-inch, speckle-bellied intruder and trapped it in a box. Al, from Godalming, Surrey, said: "This salad was more organic than most!

"The packaging said some ingredients were from Kenya, so for all I know this could be a poisonous African frog.

"It took them three days to come and collect it and I'm very angry." The firm has apologised and is investigating.

A couple of months before that, Dutch news sources reported that a customer at a Burger King restaurant in the Netherlands had found a live frog in her salad:

A woman eating a salad at a Burger King restaurant in the Netherlands found a live frog in her salad, the company confirmed.

"What's happened is that one of our guests found a frog in her salad. She went to the manager and showed him the frog. He saw it was there and that's a fact," said spokeswoman Christine Frey.

Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad quoted the customer, identified as 23-year-old Astrid Roek, as saying "it was a big black thing, a frog or a toad." She said she found the amphibian while halfway through her meal at the Burger King restaurant at The Hague's central train station.

"I stood up and screamed the place upside-down," she told the paper. Roek has submitted a complaint to the Dutch Food and Wares Authority but is not expected to sue for emotional damages or punitive damages in the matter: large compensation suits are virtually unknown in the Netherlands.

"We know that everybody sues everybody in the United States, but Holland is not like that, it's not how it works here," Frey said.

Frey said the company had given its excuses and is trying to figure out how the frog got into the salad.

It appeared likely it happened between packaging at the restaurant and when the diner reported finding it.

Frey said the company's basic salad supplier was confident the frog was not in the large, vacuum-sealed bags of salad the restaurant receives.

"The fact is — it's in the process of how we prepare our basic salad — it's just not possible a frog will survive," Frey said.

"Any frog would have been killed by dicing of leaves or refrigeration, or certainly by suffocation in the bags," she said.

"We just don't know how it's happened, and we have to be careful what we say," the spokeswoman added.

And a few months before that, the Australian press reported a case of a consumer who claimed to have found a (dead) frog in yet another supermarket-purchased bagged salad product:

A dead frog was an unwanted ingredient in a pre-mixed caesar salad a woman bought from a supermarket.

Julie Lumber, who bought the salad from a Coles store in Brisbane, said: "I opened up the bag and the frog fell out on the side of the plate.

"I just went 'Oh my God' and then we had a laugh about it. I couldn't stomach French food with frogs legs and snails and I wasn't about to try it the other day."

She took a photo of her unusual salad before returning the package, frog and all. A Coles duty manager would not comment.

In just about every such case the conclusion remains unresolved, with the purchasers adamantly insisting they found live (or formerly live) frogs in store- or restaurant-purchased products, and the suppliers of those products maintaining just as adamantly that the critters could not possibly have passed through or survived the production processes.

Last updated:   28 August 2006

  Sources Sources:

    The [Australia] Daily Telegraph.   "Salad Serves up a Surprise."

    12 April 2006.

    The Sun.   "Frog's Hopping in My Shopping."

    28 August 2006.

    The [Ireland] Sunday Tribune.   "Live Frog Found in Salad."

    4 June 2006   (p. N12).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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