Frito-Lay Inc. says it will investigate a Havre man's "unsubstantiated claim" that he found a deep-fried mouse in a bag of barbecue potato chips.
Jack Hines, a 66-year-old former laborer and contractor, said he was snacking on the chips Tuesday when he pulled out the crispy rodent.
"Good thing I seen it. I got it all the way up to my mouth," he said. "I felt the fur, I brought it back down and just looked at it and threw it behind my back."
Frito-Lay was sending a representative to retrieve the bag and the mouse this weekend. Both will be shipped to company headquarters in Plano, Texas, for an investigation.
Company spokesman Jared Dougherty said a photo of the mouse makes him "very skeptical" it entered the bag during the manufacturing process. He called the case an "unsubstantiated claim."
He said his experience shows that such "foreign objects" enter the bag after the product is out of their control. Dougherty added Hines had had the bag of chips for more than two weeks, and opened it about a week before discovering the mouse.
Frito-Lay spokeswoman Aurora Gonzalez said initial results could be available in just a few days.
"Our products are manufactured under the highest standards of quality assurance, so when we receive reports of alleged problems with the product, we take them very seriously," she said.
Hines said he found maggots on the mouse and chips a day after eating the chips.
He has not seen a doctor yet, and only plans to if he gets sick. Hines did not know if he would seek an attorney to handle the matter.
State health officials said they had not heard of the incident and were not investigating.
A similar discovery occurred earlier this year in Colorado, Gonzalez said. An investigation in that case revealed the mouse had chewed its way into the chip bag after it had left the Frito-Lay plant.
Frito-Lay is a unit of PepsiCo Inc.