This Rodent Skull Does Not Belong In Nutty Cranberry Maple Granola

Sabrina bit into a rodent skull and cut her gums while eating a bowl of cereal. The 100% natural, premium gourmet nutty cranberry maple granola she was trying to enjoy was purchased at a Hannaford in Maine and manufactured by Bakery on Main. Aside from selling the rodent skull, both Hannaford and Bakery on Main are handling the situation well.

Here’s how Sabrina tells the story:

So there I was….eating a bowl of Cranberry Granola cereal a couple nights ago when I chomp down on a hard mass. The cereal is rather chunky and nutty, like most granola is, so i figured it was just a shell of a nut that snuck in there….WRONG!!

I proceeded to pull it out of my mouth only to find something that resembled a bone of sorts. I turned it over and discovered it had TEETH! A lot of them. Too small big to be mouse teeth. I am thinking rat, chipmunk or squirrel!

I started dry heaving immediately! I can’t believe this was happening. I think I am still in shock! Thank goodness I didn’t crack my back molar. I did cut a portion of my gum line…but nothing major. My jaw hurt for the rest of the night….and my stomach turned for the rest of the night and into the next day.

I cannot believe I was biting down on the head/jaw bone and teeth of a nasty rodent!
What do you do in a situation like this! I was not hurt…so I am not sure I even have a case. This is just so awful though! I am nauseous just thinking about it!

The company is “Bakery on Main” natural gourment. The cereal was nutty cranberry maple granola. This is an organic company out of connecticut.

She later sent us this update:

Yesterday I brought the the bone and packaging to Hannaford ( the grocery store where i bought it). I was very polite and explained to them what happened. I didnt want to give the bone to anyone just yet…but they said as part of their “process” they needed the package and bone to seal up and send to headquarters. I was uneasy about it at first…but realized that everything was going to be properly documented. She doubled my money back.

When i got home…I called “Bakery on Main” and spoke to them. They were very apologetic and offered me TONS of free cereal products…BUT….I declined. I think I will be very weary about eating cereal for quite a while and the thought of eating any at this point makes me nauseous. He then offered me a hannaford gift card. I said that was kind of him…and whatever he felt he should do is fine. I was very polite with him…it wasn’t his fault what happened. He said the farmers he gets grains from is what was most likely the issue. The scanning systems pick up metal and such, and bone is harder to find I guess. I told him I am fine aside from a cut on my gum line. Either way this is terribly disturbing. I chewed on remains of a rodent head!!! I told him that Hannaford will be contacting him as well. I asked if he wanted to see pictures..and emailed them to him.

So that is the action I have taken. I am still in shock by what i found. It is too bad…I really liked their products!

We can’t think anything that would make up for biting into a rodent skull, but the honesty and capability displayed by Hannaford and Bakery on Main does help make the situation slightly better. Tell us Consumerists, should they be doing anything else?

RELATED: Dancing Deer And The Metal Spear


Edit Your Comment

  1. BugMeNot2 says:

    They scan for metal parts? Wonder what other kind of crap is mixed in there..

    Almost sounded like she wishes she is more hurt so she would have a case. …Almost. ;)

  2. mgy says:

    It’s not so bad if you pretend you’re a prehistoric caveman scavenging for food on the unforgiving african savannah and have to gnaw on rodent bones in a fruitless attempt at procuring sustenance. It’s a jungle out there.

  3. Good lord that is disgusting.

  4. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I am interested to know where it came from exactly…how did it survive the processing that grains and such raw material go through to become cereal?
    Sounds to me like there is no reason to panic, it’s not like hot dogs and the rest of the processed crap we eat (where the rodent bones etc. are ground up better!).

    In their defense, I would have to think that it is in fact ‘gluten free’ as the label says.

  5. morganlh85 says:

    Yeah, great idea to post that on a Sunday morning while I’m eating BREAKFAST. Thanks guys.

  6. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @BugMeNot2: Metal scanners are common on automated food lines to prevent machine parts (screws and such) and other metallic detritus from getting into the food.

  7. Dobernala says:

    Its really organic!

  8. snobum says:

    I used to work for a paper manufacturer and we used to have metal detectors to detect anything that might have come off the manufacturing line and could harm someone. It’s standard practice for any company, especially food.

  9. Um, wow, that is gross. The reader seems to have some grace though. I’d probably be so disgusted I’d be crying my eyes out and threatening to call my lawyer.

  10. forgottenpassword says:

    And this is why I LOVE heavily processd food! The errant foreign bits are crushed & diced so small that you dont even notice eating it & if you DO happen to bite into something foreign…. its usually so small that you cant ID it & brush it off as something innocuous.


  11. Lakhim says:

    This isn’t exactly unknown. The USDA/FDA has a set handbook for determining how many parts of mice/insects can be in your food. Surprise, it isn’t zero.

    For example, the limits before action should be taken for rasins is:

    Insects and insect eggs
    (AOAC 969.42 & MPM-V76) 10 or more whole or equivalent insects and 35 Drosophila eggs per 8 oz.

    Perfectly harmless, its just a cultural thing. We don’t like to eat insects. Ditto with rats. They’re actually quite tasty.

    Although a skull is a bit outside of normal, these things to happen. Its natural food. God forbid if you actually noticed what goes into your food at the production levels.

  12. Heresy Of Truth says:

    It’s gluten free, too. That’s a travesty.

  13. faust1200 says:

    If nothing else I learned that I really like the phrase “rodent skull.” I will be incorporating into my daily lexicon.

  14. Trai_Dep says:

    “You want roughage? We’ll give you roughage! Bwah ha haha!”
    Tho, they lose points for not having anapomorphic, grinning mousies on the package.

  15. stageright says:

    What? I’m OUTRAGED that no one seems to be “taking it very seriously”! Don’t they care about their rodents? Errr…I mean customers?

  16. thelushie says:

    I am glad the company was so responsive. This tops the slug in the Snapple.

  17. Hoss says:

    I’m sure any food business would gladly give her $25,000 or so to sign an agreement not to bring this public. Isn’t that was commercial insurance is for? All for nothing now….and it’s a lose, lose situation

  18. bohemian says:

    Yuk. I’m still trying to figure out how a big chunk of rodent skull would make it through grain processing. You would think that there would be something in the process that wouldn’t let pieces that big through the machinery.

    My suggestion would be to look up Alton Brown’s granola recipe and make your own.

  19. gig says:

    And where did the rest of the rodent go? It had to go somewhere. I don’t think half a dead head jumped into the grain bin. They should investigate the source and pull all potentially contaminated product that might include feet, legs, the rest of the skull…

    I think Sabrina has exercised considerable restraint under these really gross circumstances.

  20. pine22 says:

    other bone chunks are probably floating around in those packages. go organic food lol!

  21. mariospants says:

    Hilarious. I’m sure someone else has the bag with the rat’s nuts in it. Wonder if they’ll notice it.

  22. popeyemoon says:

    She should have put it under her pillow,and wait for the rat tooth fairy.

  23. parad0x360 says:

    Well at there the mix didnt have any gluten!

  24. rellog says:

    @pine22: Yes, because non-organic food is so much stricter on its rat parts tolerances…

    I understand her disgust, but this isn’t all that uncommon. Most of us are eating the ground up portions in the food we eat. Hell, the government has levels they allow manufacturers to reach, and it’s higher than one might think.
    When I was a kid, a box of raisin bran had bugs in it. It was disgusting and I still am apprehensive when eating Raisin Bran to this day (some 30 years later.) But I recognize that it is an issue of association with THAT particular product, and that it is a bit irrational. I have conscious knowledge that it is not, nor will it probably be the last time I eat some bugs…

    I say kudos to both companies for handling this so well…

  25. alexiso says:

    That is horrifying.

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

    That’s what you get for eating “organic” cereal. People never find rodent skulls in Lucky Charms. You wanted natural, you got natural!

    Kudos to Sabrina for not freaking out or starting a million-dollar lawsuit over the whole thing. It’s gross and yes, I’m sure there’s liability here somewhere, but foreign matter does get into food occasionally, and there’s really nothing one can do other than report the incident to the store where the cereal was purchased and to the manufacturer.

    There’s really nothing else to do at this point…I don’t think this is a chronic problem for Bakery on Main and there weren’t any serious injuries, so unless she wants to do the American thing and sue, sue, sue, Sabrina has done everything right.

  27. LUV2CattleCall says:

    1) Somewhere I read that vegetarians (of which I am one) kill more animals due to all the moles, voles, etc that get killed during harvesting

    2) The company should get one of those optical scanner thingys that take a pic of every morsel of food; whatever doesn’t pass the test is knocked away by a puff of air. Cape Cod chips has one of these things, it’s cool as (LHR T5) to watch!

  28. Pro-Pain says:

    Err, I would insist on a small settlement. Period. That is disgusting.

  29. Dashrashi says:

    IT BIT HER BACK. OH MY GOD. This might be the worst thing I’ve ever seen on Consumerist.

  30. angrychicken says:

    Maybe I’m a germaphobe, but if I cut my gums on the remains of a rat skull, I’d be going to the dentist after I went back to the grocery store.

  31. ceriphim says:

    Well, to be fair, it’s really more of a rodent mandible than skull. No less disgusting, just more accurate.

  32. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Lots of calcium in that skull.
    Good for her bones & would have prevented osteoporosis.

  33. Dude, so many dirty hippie jokes, so little time.

    I’ve gotten a lot more cavalier about eating bugs since I started growing my own veggies, but rodent bones is definitely where I draw the line!

  34. ChuckECheese says:

    Intruder alert! Intruder alert!

    That vole must have had a delicious death, being buried in sweet cereal. But what is the granola manufacturing process that turns a furry, chubby hamster into a skinned, weathered half-skull? I would expect more… intact rodent from a whole-foods preparation.

  35. arby says:

    @ceriphim: Actually, I’ve seen a fair number of rodent mandibles in my day (seriously: I had to identify Rattus, Mus, Meriones, and Microtus mandibles taken out of owl pellets), and that doesn’t look like one. Mandibles are pretty narrow, and there really isn’t any bone on either side of the teeth. It looks like that could be a chunk of maxilla (see images at []).

  36. Dashrashi says:

    @arby: Maxilla indeed. There is some serious-rodent-roof-of-the-mouth action going on there.

    And I made myself nauseated again.

  37. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    There was a woman in Boston who found a mouse skull in her McNuggets. This was in the Globe, because the McD’s in the story had numerous citations for having mouse droppings near the food.

  38. JaneBadall says:

    Sorry but my inner editor has had it with the word “weary” used as a combination of wary & leery.

    Weary = tired.
    Wary and/or leery = suspicious

    That is all. Please continue.

  39. iamlost26 says:

    “Too small to be mouse teeth. I am thinking rat, chipmunk or squirrel!”

    Umm… mice are about 10x smaller than rats. Get your rodents straight!

  40. Micromegas says:

    @LUV2CattleCall: About your first point: That’s just a myth that originated as a joke. It’s not true in the least.

  41. IntegraVT says:

    “If we took the bones out, it wouldn’t be crunchy, would it?”

  42. bdgbill says:

    That’s what you get for buying natural foods. I never found rodent parts in any of my many thousands of delicous bowls of Fruity Pebbles.

  43. cde says:

    @bdgbill: They all died off from pebbles induced diabetes long before they had a chance to get stuck in a machine to die.

  44. JAYEONE says:

    She’s lucky she didn’t crack a tooth on that thing…around here, a crown is running $1200. I’d be PISSED.

  45. JAYEONE says:

    @cde: that is the best argument for sugary cereals I’ve ever heard!

    (putting ChocPuffs on the grocery list)

  46. JAYEONE says:

    Um, I meant ChocoPuffs, dammit.

  47. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    I’m glad this consumer didn’t treat it like a winning lottery ticket. I’m not sure I could have resisted the temptation (quite hypocritical).

    I am very surprised the company didn’t proactively try to purchase silence.

  48. kittenfoo says:

    maybe it’s just me, but the pre-made trail mixes invariably have one ingredient that i can’t stand mixed in with a bunch of ingredients i like. so i just make my own with the stuff i like. of course, there’s no guarantee i won’t get a rodent skull mixed into the bag of dried cranberries or cashews …

  49. aquanetta says:

    Like they say, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Where there are nuts, there are squirrels.

  50. magic8ball says:

    @kittenfoo: Pre-made trail mixes invariably have one ingredient you can’t stand … like “rodent skull”?

  51. Consumer007 says:

    Sue them for the cost of the rabies shot, and then $47 million just for pain and suffering. Find a dentist that will calculate potential dental damage over the next 10 years, cosmetic surgeries, etc. Get the lawyer of the woman who sued McDonalds for coffee burns to take your case. That ought to christen the Battleship nicely…

  52. Consumer007 says:

    Oh and I would also post this on all the granola lover-type websites, blogs, community centers (fliers) and health food stores so their profits go rightfully right into the dumpster. And please call local health department where their production facility is located and get their rat-infested ass inspected.

  53. Consumer007 says:

    @Grrrrrrrrr: And spineless consumers like you are why corporations bully us. “Oh, don’t worry, that consumer will be reasonable and we’ll get away with it..har har…cigar lights up”…

    Yes she was reasonable and fair, goodie for her, her church approves, and more consumers get screwed because she doesn’t have a brain or a spine.

  54. meeroom says:

    You beat me to it!

  55. nadmonk says:

    I think that’s a little TOO organic for my tastes.

    On the other hand, rodent skulls are a great source of calcium.

  56. Beerad says:

    Not that this excuses it, but why are people totally cool with some bones in relation to their food (drumsticks, buffalo wings, bone-in fish, etc.) but the idea of “unintentional parts” freaks us out so much?

    Yes, there is the fact that it’s (ordinarily vegetarian) granola and that this bone is obviously not “part of the eating experience” like the examples I mentioned.

    Anyway, sounds like the OP is taking it pretty well and doing the right thing by letting the companies involved know. All things considered I’d be infinitely relieved that it was a (seemingly) clean, dry bone and not something a little, uh, fresher.

  57. kumquat7 says:

    I am in no way blaming the victim, but it is SO easy to make your own granola. I haven’t bought granola in years, and after this post I’m not about to…

    Just google “Alton Brown” and “granola recipe”

  58. hexychick says:

    This is the type of story that needs to be made an example of with not only good customer service from the store and manufacturer, but also of the OP who was mature, reasonable, and handled the situation like an adult.

    @iamlost26: Umm… read your own statement there. She did say it’s too small to be mouse.

  59. hexychick says:

    @kumquat7: That recipe is sooooooo good. Yum!

  60. darundal says:

    Metinks that somebody has confused rats and mice.

  61. fitmom says:

    Sorry about the typo on the size of the teeth. The skull had teeth much too big to be a mouse!

    It was pretty nasty. Still haven’t had any cereal since. Blaaaaaahhh. Still turns my stomach!

    I appreciate all the feedback!

  62. tcolberg says:

    Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done beyond what the supermarket and manufacturer has already done. Stories like these are ultimately unavoidable with automated food production. Either we all need to start growing/killing our own food or just put up with it all until we have really advanced versions of that optical scanner/sorter LUV2CattleCall mentioned.

    At least it seems that the bone was baked with the granola and therefore was sterilized. Too bad that the irrationality of trauma like this will prevent the person from enjoying granola again.

  63. RvLeshrac says:


    Except that, along with the rest of the food, it was utterly sterilized.

    Unless there was a pathogen-based recall, nothing to be worried about.

  64. RvLeshrac says:


    There’s a difference between situations. If there was a half-processed mouse-head rotting in the bag of granola, it would be different – but this is just an errant bone. You can’t avoid these things. Nothing you can ever do will prevent 100% of foreign objects from entering the food supply.

    Lawsuits over insignificant matters such as this won’t improve the food supply, and instead serve only to raise prices.

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


    Oh, of course….since I’m not out there suing every corporation over every single unpleasant thing that annoys me, that makes me “spineless.”

    So okay, go for it wise-guy…sue every company for a billion fucking dollars every time there’s the slightest pretense to do so and see if there are any companies left after they all have multi-million dollar payouts and end up going bankrupt. Yeah, that’s a good strategy.

    You want it both ways…you want companies to make cheap product and sell it for a cheap price, but you also want million-dollar payouts for every whiner that gets a rock in their cereal or spills coffee in their own lap. I bet you whine your ass off about the price of health care, but you’d be the first in line to sue a doctor for $10 million over a broken fingernail.

    Sorry pal, you can’t have it both ways. There was no physical harm done here, so I don’t think she deserves a handsome cash settlement.

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

    Apologies for the language, but not for the sentiment.

  67. lovelygirl says:

    eewww… yesh there is physical harm! She cut her gums, and who knows what kind of bacteria was on that rat skull. At the least, this is a case for emotional distress if I ever saw one.

  68. flake82 says:

    What I want to know is…where is the rest of what that portion of mandible/teeth was attached to? Jaw bones and teeth don’t usually wander off on their own.

  69. fitmom says:

    I want cereal so bad…but can’t bring myself to do it! I am seriously scarred for life I think! Hannaford sent me an apology letter. No letter from “Bakery on Main” yet.