Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

I smell a rat

Rat head

Or in this case, almost tasting rat. 

Imagine if you will, settling down in front of the TV with one of your favorite Korean snack foods.

Then, no sooner after you have torn open that bag of snacks, you are about to have the shock of your life (and maybe even feel sick) when you start munching on those crispy shrimp cracker-like snacks and come across a rat’s head inside the bag.

The nation’s largest snack maker, Nongshim, made a public apology Tuesday for one of its best-selling items containing the head of a small rodent. The company shut down the snack production line, and supermarkets are already removing them from their shelves.

The apology came after gray skin-like material, 1.6 centimeters in length, was found last month inside a jumbo-sized Nongshim snack, “Saewookkang” (shrimp snack). The Food and Drug Administration on Monday issued a correctional order to the snack manufacturer.

The “material” was very hard and covered in oil and burnt hair, and it also had the remains of eyes and a nose, which led the administration to conclude it to be the head of a rat.

A customer had reportedly called Nongshim asking for a refund and a recall on all of its products made on that day. Initially her requests were denied. However, later the company tried to compensate her and recalled all the products in the market, she said.

The company explained that a factory in China makes the dough and sends it to a factory in Busan to fry, pack and distribute it. “I doubt the frying process in Busan is unhygienic, but we are looking into the possibility of the material being added during the dough process at our factory in China,” a Nongshim spokesman said during the public apology.

Yeah, coming across a rat’s head in a big of shrimp snacks has got to be pretty gross, but not as gross as what my friend David Walther, his father and I came across in a bottle of Falstaff beer back in 1975.

We were sitting around the kitchen table, tossing down a few cold ones when David’s father discovered a stogie in the bottle he had just opened. Don’t recall whatever happened—if David’s father had taken the bottle back to the liquor store where he had purchased the beer and got his money back or if he got some free beer out of it.  

1 Comment

  1. That’s nasty. Did you know rat on a stick is considered a delicacy in some African countries. There’s also a special town here in Taiwan whose main specialty is rat meat. Folks go wild for it.

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