LOVELL, Maine — When Scott Beaudoin opened a can of pineapples to pair with a ham he was cooking for dinner on Saturday, he was shocked to find something he knew weren't pineapple slices inside.
He made out what appeared to be the shape of a head, an upturned snout, and eyeballs. Beaudoin said he could "tell right away" that it was a bat.
At first, he was just surprised by what he found in the can. But then he was disgusted. Next came figuring out what to do about it. He documented the label numbers and then wrapped the can in plastic and put it in the freezer to preserve it.
The Lovell man said he bought the can of Dole pineapples from the Thrift Way Supermarket in Fryeburg. The can, which he says was fully sealed when he opened it on Saturday, has a “best used by” date on the bottom, which reads December 2023.
Beaudoin immediately reported it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and called the number on the Dole can. He said someone from Dole got back to him saying someone would come to retrieve the can to investigate.
An FDA spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny whether they were investigating, but said the FDA takes reports of possible adulteration of food that may also cause illnesses or injury seriously.
FULL INTERVIEW WITH MAINE MAN WHO THINKS HE FOUND A BAT IN A CAN OF HIS DOLE PINEAPPLES - PART 1
Julia Pierrat, who is the senior manager of the consumer center and test kitchen for Dole Packaged Foods, LLC., told NEWS CENTER Maine on Wednesday that an independent lab is sending someone to pick up the can and identify what's inside. She said, however, that they shared Beaudoin's photos with Dole's quality assurance team at the food plant, and Pierrat said they are "quite confident" it's mold, not a bat.
"Food mold is pretty common in the food industry when food is exposed to air," she said.
The photos Pierrat and the representatives at Dole were shown were taken after the can had been in Beaudoin's freezer. He said the frost, which could be misconstrued as mold, "kind of blew up the eyeballs." When NEWS CENTER Maine met up with Beaudoin on Wednesday, the can was thawed out.
Pierrat said they should be able to get it identified within two weeks.
Beaudoin said when Dole simply said they’d reimburse him for the cost of the can of pineapples—which goes for $1.99 at the Thrift Way store—and a send him a $25 gift card, he declined.
"I didn't really know what to think of it at the time, so I just told [the Dole rep] 'No.' ... To be honest, I'm still unsure what I think of all this," Beaudoin said, noting he doesn't see this as a monetary issue.
In addition to reporting what he found to the FDA and to Dole, Beaudoin sent the photos in to NEWS CENTER Maine, thinking some other people may have experienced the same thing.
"I was thinking that maybe some other people may have gotten something equally nasty, droppings, or worse, but I just thought it was the right thing to do," he said.
In March, a similar story of surprises found in food went viral when a Los Angeles-based comedian and writer found what he believed to be shrimp tails and other foreign objects in a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The discovery led to a back-and-forth between the man and at least one representative from General Mills, who appeared to try to downplay what the foreign objects were.
Beaudoin said he hasn't heard from the Dole rep since he spoke with them on the phone Saturday, but said he isn't sure what will happen when they come to pick up the can to investigate.
"Once I hand it over to him, who knows what happens?"
When asked what he'd say to people who may think he altered what was in the can in some way, Beaudoin said he would say, "Take a look at that can, how could I do that? How could I create that?"
"And that's not me. That's what I'd say."