It sounds like the stuff of urban legends, and a shopper at a Woolworths supermarket in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast surely wished it was recently when she took two bites of a rice paper roll and found a dead mouse inside.
Taking her daughter, Emilie Petrusic, to the store to complain about the ‘rodent roll’ as the unlucky mother was too distressed (and disgusted) to face it on her own, the pair were informed that the roll might have been tampered with by someone outside the store. Staff were still understandably shocked and offered a full refund, and the Petrusics kept the roll in their freezer until it was collected by Gold Coast Health officials.
Gold Coast Health and Gold Coast City Council couldn’t discuss the case as the investigation was ongoing, but Woolworths stated; “If it was in fact inside the roll, that happened after it left the store… Our investigations will continue but based on that advice and our own investigations and that of the health authorities we have no reason to believe the contamination happened in our store.”
The Petrusics, nevertheless, are sticking to their story, with Emilie, who’s been doing all the talking as her Mum remains too shocked to comment, stating to the Bulletin that “It was absolutely terrible. I’ve never experienced something like this… It’s like it’s been planted because they hand-make those things. How can a whole animal be inside it? [Mum] was mortified and I was fuming. I went straight down there.”
Called to comment upon the Gold Coast investigation, public health boss Dr. Paul Van Buynder explained, “We really can’t say whether this is real or not at this time but we will continue with this process… We’ve received a complaint, we’ve picked up the specimen and we’re interviewing people.”
Russian Man Smells (And Perhaps Tastes) A Rat
The case is strikingly (and revoltingly) similar to another recent news item concerning Anatol Voronkov, a Russian man from the city of Irkutsk who recently found a dead mouse (or maybe young rat) inside a sausage he’d been using to make a sandwich.
Having already chowed down on half of the ‘high quality meat product’, Voronkov saw what he thought was a peppercorn but realised was actually the foot of a rodent. But he was luckier than the senior Ms Petrusic, who apparently swallowed part of the mouse and has now undergone medical tests.
When Mice Are Actually Delicacies
The consumption of mice in countries around the world has been going on for centuries, with Southeast Asia’s Mekong Delta offering a famed barbecue mouse dish (chuot quay), a simple Chinese mouse-on-a-skewer an age-old favourite and Korea known for its mice in wine.
Arguments are ongoing as to whether the consumption of such delectably mousy concoctions are to do with necessity in impoverished regions or simply because they're tasty, but there’s no doubt that in the Gold Coast and Russian cases, the mouse or rat in question wasn’t properly cooked (yuk!!!). And that, of course, prompts a whole nauseating series of seriously scary food safety issues about pest control, food contamination, how to keep rats and mice out of food preparation areas (and who’s responsible if they’ve somehow got in).
And isn’t all this vermin talk making you hungry?