Subway Takes Knife In Sandwich Very Seriously

WHO: Subway
WHAT: A man says he ate a subway sandwich and it had a 7-inch serrated blade inside.
WHERE: NYC man says he found knife in Subway sandwich [AP] (Thanks to Jeff!)
THE QUOTE: “Subway restaurants spokesman Kevin Kane says food safety and customer comments are taken “very seriously” and that the company is “investigating the facts.”

“Taking it seriously” is a phrase companies use over and over again in public statements whenever they have bad PR. Our series of posts on occurrences of the phrase is our attempt to question how seriously companies are really taking these matters if every time they trot out this phrase by rote.

(Photo: Morton Fox, Getty)

Comments

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  1. javi0084 says:

    He got a prize and he complained? Wow.

  2. SomeoneGNU says:

    Why would the consumer complain about the extra iron? /shrug

  3. “A man says he ate a subway sandwich and it had a 7-inch serrated blade inside.”

    Anyone else think that sounds like he ate the entire sandwich, knife and all?

  4. MeOhMy says:

    Wow…looks like all the those of you who ask Subway not to cut their sandwiches in half out of concerns about cross contamination just had your point proven in blades…er…spades!

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    From the NYC Story:

    …..was horrified to find a 7-inch serrated blade in the bread….He says it was protruding into the half of the sandwich he was about to start chomping……Instead, he says he fell ill with “severe stomach issues” for hours after eating. He attributes it to food poisoning from the embedded blade.

    A knife is sticking out of this man’s sandwich, he sees it before begining to eat AND EATS IT ANYHOW!!!!!!

    Rather than blame the OP, I would like to provide helpful consumer advice: If you see a knife sticking out of your sandwich, a rat head in your pizza, a frog in your salad, a cigarette butt in your smoothie – DO NOT PROCEED WITH CONSUMING THE PRODUCT.

  6. Bladefist says:

    @SkokieGuy: What If I see a box of Antrax in my mail box? Can I eat it? Your comment is not very clear. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.

  7. Bagels says:

    @Troy F.: I can’t stand mayo, and the Subway I frequent near work never wipes their knives except for one guy. If the person in front of me has mayo, then I’m going to get it too.

  8. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    NYC? If the sandwich had a knife, maybe it was trying to mug you. Then again, since the guy did eat the sandwich, crime is foiled once more.

  9. Murph1908 says:

    @Troy F.:
    I stopped going to Subway for this very reason.

    I dislike mayo. A lot.

    Telling them to not cut them in half doesn’t stop the cross-contamination.

    The Subway employees like to use the knife to hold down the innards of my sandwich while they fold it, then slide it out. Any mayo on that knife now has been wiped off on my bread. You have to hover over them, ready to stop the fold if it is imminent. They look at you like you have 2 heads if you ask them not use that dirty knife. Then, they pick one up that has pickle residue on it and do the same thing.

  10. failurate says:

    I just don’t understand this story. The guy developed immediate food poisoning?

  11. sir_pantsalot says:

    @Murph1908: Are you guys as bad as I am? I am actually scared of mayo. I can’t touch it, cant stand to see it, smell it or be around it. Same goes for almost anything white and creamy.

  12. Ubermunch says:

    @Bagels: Thanks! I feel like we are mayo hating comrades.

    I’m the same way with mayo and Subway knives. Most workers look at me like I have two heads when I ask for the sandwich to remain uncut. Some even ask why and I respond with “It makes the sub travel better” which sounds a lot better than “I am a bit phobic of mayo and kind of a wuss about it”. Phrasing is everything when it comes to personal dignity.

  13. Angryrider says:

    He ate the blade? Oy… Why didn’t HE take this seriously?

  14. @failurate:

    Sound like he developed a case of needcashmesueum

  15. booksy says:

    Wait a minute this is the same Subway were you WATCH them make the sandwiches right? Was the employee some kind of magician not to notice?

  16. failurate says:

    @sir_pantsalot: I once missed Christmas dinner because of mayo. Prime Rib man… prime m-f’ing rib!

  17. sir_pantsalot says:

    Ben is upset because not too long ago if you found a knife in your sandwich it was a 8 inch blade.

  18. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Folks, let’s keep the comments aimed at the consumer helpful. Read the comment code. Making fun of the person isn’t helpful, nor is making accusations that he ate the knife on purpose (looking at you, hypochondriac).

  19. booksy says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Not really making fun here but you have to be blind (he isn’t really blind is he?)not to see someone put a knife in your sandwich at subway. With the way they make them everything is in plain view.

  20. failurate says:

    @failurate: Okay… helpful advice for how to avoid eating a 7″ blade in a soft bread sandwich… Come on… Consumerist is counting on you…
    Squeeze it? That’s the best you got? You suck.

  21. acknight says:

    @booksy: Exactly what I was thinking…

  22. chrisjames says:

    @failurate: Food poisoning symptoms occur very quickly after ingestion. I’m betting, though, that he was just a little afraid of what he might have eaten, and it made him feel nauseous, maybe with some psychosomatic stomach problems. If he didn’t see a doctor about it, then he’s out of luck.

    The knife was supposedly baked into the bread, so he was already eating it before he saw it.

  23. failurate says:

    @chrisjames: He said the knife was protruding, which would imply, whether it was baked in or not, that it was exposed.

    What should fair compensation be? An apology and free meal?

  24. Ubermunch says:

    @failurate:

    Questions to ask after the first bite or two of a Subway lunch:

    1) Does it taste metallic?
    2) Are there bits of broken plastic or metal in your mouth?
    3) Is your mouth cut from a large serrated blade?
    4) Were you delivering this sub to a jail or prison when this happened?
    5) Did you just get into a heated verbal exchange with the preparer of the sub?

    If the answer to any of these questions is yes… then stop eating and seek legal and medical help immediately (in that order).

    But seriously… :-)

    I can easily see how the OP missed the knife. If it fell in (presumably) and was… say toasted into the sub under some cheese perhaps… it would be darn hard to see until that first nasty chomp. I get meatball and cheese subs at Subway that I cannot see the internals of (and that may be for the better when you think about it).

  25. How do you not see the knife in a subway sandwich?
    A foot long Subway sub has like 6 small round pieces of paper thin low-quality cold cuts on them. You could easily see a knife in it.

    Jared lost weight because they don’t put any meat on the damn sandwich.

    If he thinks he got food poisoning from the knife, he would’ve got it with or without the knife. A contaminated knife would contaminate it whether it was sitting in the sandwich, or slicing through it.

  26. booksy says:

    @chrisjames: Thanks for the clarification, the baked in bread portion makes it more believible

  27. chrisjames says:

    @failurate: He said “it was protruding into the half of the sandwich he was about to start chomping on.” That’s pretty unclear, but it could have simply meant his next bite would have been right on the blade. It doesn’t imply that half the knife was sticking out of the bread in a noticeable way, even to the employees fixing the sandwich.

  28. vladthepaler says:

    Granted the knife shouldn’t have been there in the first place, but if the guy was stupid enough to eat the sandwich with the knife in it, that really isn’t Subway’s fault.

  29. @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Sorry if my comment was out of line. I didn’t mean to imply that he ate it on purpose. I was just thinking that his reaction was disproportionate to the events.

    Subway might have made a mistake and left a knife inside his sandwich which they have to answer for, but a stainless steel knife is not likely to carry many germs.

    If he really did feel ill a few hours after eating, I would be more worried about the food. Illness within a few hours of eating tend to be from a preformed toxin and not the bacteria infecting the person.

  30. glennski says:

    If you read the article it states that the knife was actually baked into the bread, not just resting in the sandwhich. It’s a little different than a knife just getting accidentally wrapped alongside the sandwhich.

  31. forgottenpassword says:

    I am a little skeptical of his claims basically because he said that he got sick afterwards from the knife contaminating the sandwich.

    He is either lying about the whole knife in the sandwich thing or playing up they sympathy by saying he got food poisoning from it (which i dont see as very likely).

    Note: I also remember a consumerist post about a bolt being found baked inside a subway sammich.

  32. Bagels says:

    I am glad to see I am not alone in my disgust for mayo. We all must band together and stop this vile substance. If I order a burger w/ no tomato and they put tomato on, it’s pretty simple to remove it. If on the other hand I ask for no mayo and mayo is applied, there is no turning back

  33. cmdrsass says:

    @Troy F.: This is also the reason why I stopped going to Subway. I had to stop them from cutting my sandwich with a mayo-encrusted knife *every single time*. When I say no mayo, I mean it. And how hard is it for a restaurant to keep their ONE knife clean? I mean, come on!

  34. Scoobatz says:

    I don’t eat at Subway much, but I seem to remember that all 12 inch sandwiches are cut in half. How did the preparer make the sandwich without discovering the knife inside?

    Also, I’m pretty sure signs of food poisoning are not immediate. In many cases, it takes days for symptoms to appear.

    Just my two cents.

  35. dragonvpm says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Are we allowed to be skeptical about some of the stories posted?

    Having read the article, I have some serious doubts about the possibility that they could bake a 7″ knife into a 12″ roll of bread such that when they went to cut it to make his sandwich they never once hit the blade or noticed it sticking out the back of the bread. I don’t know if his Subway is like ALL of the ones out here, but here they use silicone bread trays to bake their bread and I seriously doubt you could bake the knife into the bread using those (they don’t leave room to have it sticking out one end so it would have to stick out the top which is where they normally cut through to make the sandwich).

    If we’re not allowed to comment on the facts of the story (like how he got sick after finding the knife but before he’d eaten any of the sandwich) then it seems like we’d be stuck telling people to just not eat food that has knives baked into it and move on.

  36. vildechaia says:

    Wow! One inch shorter than “normal.” The Grocery Shrink Ray got to the knives!!! What’s next? I am thrilled to hear that Subway is taking this very seriously.

  37. timmus says:

    From the NYC Story:

    …..was horrified to find a 7-inch serrated blade in the bread….He says it was protruding into the half of the sandwich he was about to start chomping……Instead, he says he fell ill with “severe stomach issues” for hours after eating. He attributes it to food poisoning from the embedded blade.

    Oh, for crying out loud. If he ate FIRST and found the knife SECOND, that implies he ate the end of the sandwich and found the knife as he worked his way down. So he was nowhere near the sliced area. I support big lawsuits, but I think this guy needs to have his case thrown out for making that bogus claim.

  38. SkokieGuy says:

    @vildechaia: This is also the reason, that despite rising gas prices, men still buy Hummers.

  39. alexiso says:

    I once found an uncapped Sharpie marker wrapped between the Subway paper and the tissue paper that holds the sandwich. Luckily it wasn’t IN the sandwich because I was hungry and ate it anyway.

  40. failurate says:

    A 12 inch sandwich is cut twice by the preparer, first the slit down the length of the bread and second the cutting of the sandwich into two.
    From what I recall, the bread is handled fairly roughly during that first lengthwise cut.
    This story of the baked in 7″ knife is just not plausible.

    We need someone with some Subway sandwich making experience to help us out with this one.

  41. battra92 says:

    No offense but how is this possible? Wouldn’t cutting the sandwich find the knife? Not blaming the consumer or anyone but it just seems really weird. I mean a 7 inch knife in the sandwich is enough that it couldn’t miss being cut in half (unless it was sticking out the side Ma Beagle style)

    @Scoobatz: “Also, I’m pretty sure signs of food poisoning are not immediate. In many cases, it takes days for symptoms to appear.”

    If he’s telling the truth, which sorry but after the Wendy’s finger I’m very skeptical, it is more likely just shock.

  42. Mr_Human says:

    @Applekid: Oh, stop hating on NYC. The whole mugging stereotype is such old beer. It’s pretty safe here, you know.

  43. battra92 says:

    @alexiso: That makes it sound like you ate the marker. :)

  44. RhymePhile says:

    As interesting as the WHO, WHAT, and THE QUOTE were, the main thing missing from the WHERE is, well, the Where. It just says “New York City.” In case the nice people of Newsday and the AP hadn’t noticed, “New York City” is pretty freaking big. It would have been nice to know exactly where this happened!

  45. cristiana says:

    I am skeptical of what he said happened. From what I gather, the knife was baked into the bread. However, when getting a foot long sandwich at Subway, they cut the bread twice. Once to split the bread to put in the meat, and then once down the center to make two halves.
    I highly doubt that the first cut completely missed the knife, since it would have to be baked entirely in the top or the bottom half of the bread, almost perfectly parallel to the cut. Also, the bread would probably feel less flexible than a normal loaf (but, the preparer could have missed that).
    Then, once the sandwich is complete, they cut it into two six inch halves, each would be longer than the seven inch knife that was supposedly in the sandwich, and the person cutting it would have certainly hit the knife.
    Even if he did not want his sandwich cut in half, I highly doubt the first cut completely missed the knife, and that neither the preparer, or the person ordering would not have noticed a big knife in the thin bread.

  46. I’ll remember to perform a bend test from now on. Thanks for the head’s up!

  47. MercuryPDX says:

    o/` Five…. Five-Million… Five-million dollar Law-suuuuuuuuit… o/`

    @Bagels, cmdrsass, Murph1908, failurate, Ubermunch: Add me to your “He Man Mayo Haters Club”. I take it so far that I ask for everything plain and put on whatever condiments myself. The layer of condiments should never be thicker than the cheese (Glares in ‘Carl’s Jr.’s direction). The point is to EAT your food, not wear it.

  48. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    @dragonvpm: Being skeptical is completely fine.

  49. dragonvpm says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz: Thanks, I’d been wondering about that since it can be hard to tell when skepticism about the circumstances presented equals criticizing the OP (especially if the OP does something that can come off sounding comical)

  50. nsv says:

    @sir_pantsalot: Aargh! You’ve handed me a joke I can’t possibly make without getting banned!

    @suburbancowboy:

    A contaminated knife would contaminate it whether it was sitting in the sandwich, or slicing through it.

    The handle doesn’t come into contact with the sandwich when the knife is used to cut it. And I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to know what’s on those handles.

    That said, I agree with the skeptical comments. There’s no way a Subway roll could go through all the cutting they do without someone noticing a large (relative to the size of the sandwich) knife.

  51. nsv says:

    And while I’m being skeptical, where are the rolls made? Why would a knife used in the preparation of the finished sandwich be in an area where dough is being formed into rolls?

  52. bbagdan says:

    People are so lucky. This guy gets a free knife, that lady got some crack in her burger, and that cop got spit AND urine in his KFC.

    Life is so unfair.

  53. Farquar says:

    @Consumerist-Moderator-Roz:

    Roz – reread the “Commentor’s Code” There is nothing in there that says that comments aimed at the consumer are to be “helpful.” Only that we are to avoid commenting only to be negative. As best I can tell, this post has been mild in comparison to many others. Why you chose this one to comment in is absolutely beyond me. Perhaps you should have read the first Wal-Mart oil change post and attempted to control some of that. The anti-OP vitrol there was well beyond anything here.

    This is a post that begs for some critical evaluation. The story does not make any sense. I’m incredibly OP positive in my posting.. go back and read my comments. But this is one, at first glance doesn’t add up, and upon further consideration makes even less sense.

    Don’t kick me out. Again.

  54. drfaustus71 says:

    If they cut the finished sandwich in half on the bias (or “diagonally”) a 7 in. blade could have easily been missed. Now the slice for stuffing the innards would have been harder, but still not impossible.

  55. drfaustus71 says:

    @nsv: To cut those lovely little slash marks on top of the loaves!

  56. SkokieGuy says:

    BTW – Subway receives its ‘fresh baked bread’ in frozen logs that are dumped into the trays for baking. The size of these frozen logs would preclude containing a hidden knife.

    In addition, virtually all factory processed food (the premade dough) uses scanners that scans the food for metal debris.

  57. nsv says:

    @drfaustus71: Hmm… ok, I hadn’t thought about that. You’re right.

  58. chrisjames says:

    @Scoobatz: I share your skepticism about the food poisoning claim, but you are wrong about the length of time. It sounds pedantic, but health education is paramount.

    Food poisoning symptoms can manifest in as little as 15 minutes from first consumption. They can also disappear just as rapidly. That usually happens when food is not stored, preserved, or prepared correctly (knife-in-bread almost counts as not prepared correctly). Food-borne illnesses, however, can take much longer as they infect the body… like a couple days or so.

    In all cases, if you suspect that you are feeling the effects of food poisoning or that something you ate was contaminated, then call poison control, call your doctor, or just go to the emergency room. Food poisoning can lead to death or long-term damage, even if it seems minor.

    I’m sure if he was having “severe stomach issues” from food poisoning, they would have lasted much longer than a few hours without care.

  59. Sian says:

    7 inch? last I checked Subway still used those awesome little 3-inch stamped, plastic-handled serrated knives that rip through bread and flesh like nothing.

  60. Dervish says:

    @SkokieGuy: This is exactly right. Subway gets its frozen, raw bread from another large manufacturer, and a piece of metal this large would definitely have triggered the metal detector. This assumes that a knife even managed to find its way into the product zone of a production line.

    Additionally, I’d think that a metal knife would have a pretty small chance of carrying enough pathogens to give someone food poisoning. There’s a reason that certain types of material are acceptable for food contact and some are not, and it has a lot to do with microbe retention. Plus baking a knife in a hot oven for 20 minutes would do a lot to kill anything on it. Maybe he got nauseated by the idea of nearly cutting his mouth open or he’s trying to garner sympathy – but I’d bet money that he doesn’t have food poisoning.

  61. Average_Joe says:

    Does subway make the dough on site, or is the bread baked from frozen premade dough logs from a factory?

  62. Infinity_8 says:

    It’s one of those new $5 subs dude! But seriously, why would anyone wanna live in the scum filled NYC anyways?

  63. ironchef says:

    that’s their new kid’s menu promo!

  64. MercuryPDX says:

    @SkokieGuy, Dervish: My guess? The dough isn’t delivered in the baking pans. The knife somehow found its way into the bottom of the baking pan at the Subway before the dough went in to defrost/rise.

  65. Dervish says:

    @MercuryPDX: Assuming it really was in the bread and not planted by the customer, this is probably the answer. The dough would thaw, proof, and then bake around it. Even if this were the case, though, the amount of attention not being paid to the bread (by the customer OR the worker) had to be huge. You’d still be able to clearly see the knife pressed into the bottom of the loaf.

  66. Scuba Steve says:

    Since it would be a good idea to through away the sandwich, I still would be pissed at paying 5 bucks for a crappy knife.

  67. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    Uhh don’t people watch the sandwich maker when they are making the food? :Hey, uh you forgot your knife in my sandwich”

  68. trujunglist says:

    You mayo haters have serious issues.

  69. Dyscord says:

    Okay, how on earth did the guy not notice a knife in the sub? They make it right in front of you!

  70. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Now we know how Jared lost all that weight! Mr. Stabby gives you free bariatric surgery!

    @Dyscord: No kidding. Even if the knife were baked into the bread, one would think the Subway dude would have noticed it.

  71. todd73nj says:

    As an ex franchisee, I figure I may as well give some facts.

    Our bread comes in frozen sticks. They are thawed for 12-24 hours before being baked. At the point of proofing, they are not large enough for one of those knives to be “inside” the bread. Could it have fallen along side the bread stick before proofing and baking, absolutley! But it would have been impossible for this knife to have been noticed if that was the case – either when the hinge cut was made or when the foot long sandwich was cut into two 6 inch portions.

    If the knife was really baked for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, I think the plastic handle would have been melted much more than in the picture that I am seeing on many websites. Ive had an employee accidenlty toast a knife. When that handle starts to melt at all – the smell is HORRIBLE! Same thing would have happened if they baked the knife. The handle would have turned to a l

    Secondly, like somone said, a 7 inch knife does not fit into a 6 inch half of a sandwich. And if he took a few bites and realized something didnt taste right he would have bitten into the knife. All footlong sandwiches are halved, unless it is requested that they are not

    Some production problems with that sandwich also
    1) Dont appear to be any bread scores on the roll. Subway scores the roll four times. We do this using a scoring knife and not a regular bread knife
    2) Subway has been removing the square sheet of Deli Paper from its sandwiches for quite some time now
    3) What is up with the oddly halved piece of tomato. There should be 6 tomatoes on that full sandwich – but only see a half – that appears to be perfectly cut with a knife.

    Something is not right here.

    And for those of you who hate mayo, there should be more than one knife in the wrapping area. A knife is not supposed to be used to hold toppings in a sandwich before cutting it. They need to properly train their staff.

  72. todd73nj says:

    Did my reply get erased?

  73. godlyfrog says:

    I imagine that prisoner who ordered the “jailhouse special” is a little pissed at not getting his order right, either.

    As an aside, I suspect the “food poisoning” was mostly psychological as he started thinking about how the knife might have gotten into his sandwich.

  74. niccernicus says:

    Finally. Something between the 2 pieces of bread on a Subway sandwich!

  75. stapler2025 says:

    @todd73nj: Glad to see a fellow (or exfellow :P) Subway backup here.

    Like you said, our breadsticks come frozen, and are 8-9 inches long and 1 inch wide when we first put them on the bread forms. There is NOWHERE that a 7 inch knife blade can be hidden in there! Even if they tried to insert it after it’s proofed for an hour, the loaf of bread would deflate.

    Also, they lifted the deli paper rule in our area (Denver Market) which is kind of nice, however everyone at our store is so accustomed to it that its second nature to use now, we only use the deli paper for those gigantic sandwiches in which there is no hope of closing without messiness.

    We also have multiple knives available, one is strictly for those clean freaks, after use its washed off and stored in a knife block.