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FARMINGTON — Is that a snake?
A Farmington woman and an LDS Church Young Women's group say they discovered the decapitated head of a snake in a can of Western Family green beans as they prepared dinner for elderly neighbors Wednesday night.
"It looked pretty much like a burnt bean. And then as I got closer to lift it off the spoon, I saw eyes. … That's when I just dropped it and screamed," said Troy Walker, who spotted the snake head when the group was lifting beans out of a slow cooker.
Walker took what she said was a snake head and the empty can back to the Harmons grocery store in Farmington where she bought the beans. She chose to leave the snake head at the store.
"My biggest concern (was) that someone else would get the body," Walker said, adding that Harmons employees were apologetic and gave her a full refund on the 30 or so cans she had purchased.
Walker and the other youth leaders threw out all of the green beans, she said, although the teenagers thought it was "kind of cool and fun."
"I haven't eaten much today because I still get a little queasy," she said Thursday. "I could not eat last night. It was just terrible."
Walker also sent a photo of the snake head to Western Family, which has begun an investigation but could not confirm Thursday exactly what Walker found in her food.
"It's a report of a foreign material in a can of green beans. (That's) what we know," said Pete Craven, Western Family chief financial officer.
The supplier of the green beans has also been notified and a review is underway, Craven said.
"At this point, the product is on hold at the wholesale level. As soon as we know something like this, we stop all shipments until we know what's going on with the foreign material," he said. "Foreign matter is not something we take lightly. We want to know what it is, and we will immediately research and do any level of correction as we can."
At this point, the product is on hold at the wholesale level. As soon as we know something like this, we stop all shipments until we know what's going on with the foreign material.
–Pete Craven, Western Family
The company is determining which lot Walker's can came from, and tracing back where the rest of the lot ended up, according to Sharon McFadden, Western Family vice president of quality control.
Once the other cans in the lot are located, they will be pulled from store shelves.
If the presence of foreign material in the food is confirmed, the supplier of the green beans will be required to complete a corrective action report, McFadden said.
"They will go through their processes and try to determine if there was a failure of process control," she said. "Then they will have to work through that, determine what needs to be changed, and then implement those changes."
For Walker's part, she is keeping a sense of humor about the experience, which she says she will always remember as a "fun little story." The Young Women's leader said she needed to be extra persuasive when texting family members about hosting a dinner at her home this weekend.
"I said, 'I promise I am not going to serve green beans. We are not having green beans,'" she said with a laugh. "Please answer."
Contributing: Ashley Kewish