Northern Ireland

KFC apologises over caterpillar in burger

A photograph of the caterpillar found in a KFC burger Image copyright Thomas Haighton
Image caption Thomas Haighton said his wife vomited in disgust after finding a caterpillar in the burger she was eating

A fast food company has apologised to a family who found a caterpillar in a burger after buying a takeaway meal.

Thomas Haighton's family bought the meal from KFC in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, and when they got home, his wife discovered the insect in her food.

She vomited in disgust and the family made an official complaint to KFC.

In a statement, KFC said it was a "one-off incident" and added that its Carrickfergus branch had scored highly in a recent hygiene inspection.

Mr Haighton said it took the company more than two months to respond after he submitted a formal complaint.

He has rejected KFC's offer of a voucher for a six-piece variety bucket and said he will never order food from the restaurant again.

'Grub'

Mr Haighton told the BBC's Nolan Show that he bought four takeaway meals from the Carrickfergus KFC branch in November and took them home to share with his wife and children.

"I had just finished my burger and went into the kitchen to wash my hands and my wife called me in, saying 'Thomas, there's a caterpillar in my burger'.

"Obviously I went in and there was big grub, a caterpillar, in her burger. She literally stood up, ran into the kitchen and vomited.

"So we phoned KFC in Carrickfergus and they asked us to bring the burger back, which we did. They apologised and asked us did we want to exchange for another burger, and we said no."

Mr Haighton said the staff member refunded the price of the burger, filled in an investigation form and told the family to ring KFC's customer care line.

'Insult'

The family called the number the next day to lodge their official complaint, but said that it took KFC more than two months to respond.

Mr Haighton said that his wife can no longer eat salad unless she had prepared it herself and added that his family felt the voucher for a six-piece variety bucket was an "insult."

In its statement, KFC said: "We are very sorry for Mr Haighton's experience because we take both customer service and food quality extremely seriously.

"Like many retailers, our salad arrives fresh, pre-washed and packed direct from a supplier, and after carrying out a thorough investigation it appears that on this very rare occasion, an insect was not removed during preparation."

"Unfortunately due to a backlog of letters resulting from the busy festive period we were unable to respond to Mr Haighton's complaint as quickly as usual and we can fully appreciate his frustration. However, we have since sent several letters and emails expressing our sincere apologies, so it is unfortunate that he has only just received our response.

"We would like to reassure customers that this was a one-off incident, and our Carickfergus restaurant achieved a food hygiene rating of 4 stars meaning that the business was found to have very good hygiene standards."