A teenage boy said he was left feeling disgusted and queasy for days after biting into a massive green bug inside his McDonald's chicken burger.
Connor Ribbons, a 15-year-old from Cambridgeshire, England, had bought a Chicken Legend Meal on his way back from a party at around 10.45 p.m. on Saturday night, April 14.
But his mom claims he was left horrified when he took a bite of his burger to feel the brittle legs of a large insect, which he now believed was a locust.
"The first warning that things weren't right was when he picked what we now know was a leg out of his mouth. It was brittle and hard," said Anita Ribbons, 50, who was driving Connor home at the time.
"He said, 'I've got a bone' and I said not to worry. Next he actually bit into it. He grabbed something out of his mouth and threw it back in the burger bun.
"He said, 'Mum, it's a bug; it's a huge bug.' He was totally disgusted. He couldn't look at it."
The mother-of-two drove straight back to the McDonald's in Glinton, Cambridgeshire, where they had bought the meal.
"It was then in the car park that I saw it," said Anita, who lives near Peterborough. "It had a puncture wound in it where Connor had bitten. Initially I wasn't sure if it was dead; it looked so whole."
After taking pictures of the creepy-crawly, they took it back into the restaurant.
"The assistant was suitably horrified," Anita said.
They were given a full refund and offered a free meal, but Anita spoke to the duty manager and said she wanted to make a formal complaint. "I really wanted to know what it was and if it posed a health risk to my son," she said.
"Connor felt really delicate for a good few days and he's immensely hungry all the time because he does a lot of rowing."
Anita said she left the bug with the staff and was told that someone would be in touch the next day.
After hearing nothing, Anita said she called McDonald's on Monday evening and spoke to the duty manager.
She got the contact details for the area manager and sent an email detailing the incident, and finally received a response on Tuesday.
"I finally got an email [from the area manager] saying he was sorry and he would investigate it," she said. However, Anita claims she was told that they had thrown away the offending insect.
"How are they going to analyse it if they've thrown it away?" said Anita, a nurse.
"He promised me he would get back to me and I never heard from him again."
After contacting her local environmental health team, Anita was reportedly told they couldn't do anything because the insect had been thrown away. It was only when she posted the pictures on social media on Wednesday and it was picked up by the local press that she said McDonald's finally got in touch and offered her a 50-pound ($69) voucher.
"The willingness to completely ignore me is just appalling, equally as bad as getting it [the bug] in there in the first place," she said.
"They've neglected all their duty of care. There could have been an infestation of these things."
A friend who did some research based on the pictures told Anita he believed the insect was an anacridium aegyptium, commonly known as the Egyptian locust.
The largest of all the European grasshoppers, the adult females can grown up to several inches long.
In response to the incident, a McDonald’s spokesperson apologized on behalf of the restaurant.
“We are sorry to hear about Ms. Ribbons and Connor’s experience. Food quality and safety are of the utmost importance to us and we place great emphasis on quality control, following rigorous standards in order to avoid any imperfections.
"Ms. Ribbons spoke to our restaurant team at the time and the food was immediately replaced. We subsequently attempted to make contact with Ms Ribbons a number of times and when we spoke with her advised her of the Customer Services process.”