Giant Mold Universe Found Inside Chef Boyardee Can

Larry says that he opened a can of chef boyardee recently only to find a horrible giant mold world growing inside. When he contacted the store he bought it from, Walmart, a low-level employee was openly hostile to them and said the manager “wouldn’t believe them.” Yes, that’s the new scam: steal a can of food, open it up, grow a massive mold culture inside it for several weeks, then try to return it for a buck oh nine.

Larry writes: “Long time reader and love your site…….thought youde get a Kick out of this one…..Me and my family wife and 6 y/o son and 2 y/o daughter are avid chef boyardee fans…..great food in a pinch….we shop irregularlly at our Portsmouth, Va Walmart December 23,2009……we picked up our usual grocery list items as well as 6 cans of beefaroni for the kids to eat for lunchs and thought nothing of it….my wife called me in a panic today saying when she went to serve the kids lunch she found the attached surprise……now were careful not to buy dented or damaged cans when we shop and at no point did we drop or damage the can in transit home.

The can stayed sealed until today….we can only imagine that there was a pinhole leak during manufacturing………we contacted the local wal mart store when I got home to tell them about this……an extremely rude employee told my wife there was no way it came from their store and they WOULD NOT refund it……we luckily still have the receipt from the store…..weve made a few purchases at this store and have had problems before…..unfortunately its the closest grocery store to us and is the only store that carriers many of the items we need……..we asked who the manager was and told it was a Mr. Wade Riddick………but was told he wouldnt want to hear this and that they wouldnt believe us anyway…….now Im a firefighter and my wifes a nurse so were far from somer kind of criminal trying to scam for a can of beefaroni …….in fact were not interested in “suing” or replacing the 1.09 can…….just really upset at the treatment and before you say it I know I know its wal-mart……anyway…..suffice it to say we will take our grocery money else where.”

Larry should also contact ConAgra, makers of Chef Boyardee, with the lot # of the can at 800-544-5680. If he wants a refund or a replacement, he should go back to Walmart and ask to see the manager in person. He may also want to contact his local health department to keep them informed.


Edit Your Comment

  1. bkdlays says:

    Once again this is the price you pay to deal with Wal Mart. Low prices at the cost of EVERYTHING else.

    • tbax929 says:

      Did you read the post or just automatically blame the OP? The OP shops at Wal-Mart because he has no other choice in his area. He got bad service from a low-level employee. That could have happened at any retailer. The Wal-Mart bashing is really getting tired. If it had happened at Target would say that’s what he gets for shopping at Target?

      • wags says:

        It admittedly was difficult to read that entire account of what happened as one massive run-on sentence.

      • [MG]LooseCannon says:

        He didn’t say “there is no other store in his area”, he said “its the closest grocery store to us”. There’s a bit of a difference between those two.

        And it doesn’t matter if WalMart is the only store or not – that doesn’t change the fact that WalMart is WalMart. They focus on “low prices” – not “great shopping experience” or “excellent customer service”.

        It’s all about expectations – if you shop at WalMart, that’s a choice you are making. To be upset and shocked when WalMart says “Look, we don’t care. Shop here for the prices, or don’t, but leave us alone” is just stupid.

        As for the OP, his best bet is to contact Chef Boyardee. I suspect they’d be more than happy to make this right.

        • tbax929 says:

          Wal-Mart didn’t say they don’t care. A “low-level employee” said the manager wouldn’t care. Why didn’t the OP bother to actually speak to the manager, if it was that big a deal? My point is that this crap happens everywhere, but it only seems to upset Consumerist readers when it’s Wal-Mart. Is bad service acceptable? No. But you can get shitty service anywhere. If the OP had bothered to talk to the manager and the manager said he/she didn’t care, then it’s a story.

          The OP should be dealing with the manufacturer anyway.

          • samurailynn says:

            There’s nothing wrong with contacting the retailer instead of the manufacturer. I’ve probably returned bad food items 3-4 times in my life to different grocery stores and never had any problem just swapping them out. The grocery store is usually apologetic, but I know it’s not their fault. The thing is, it is much easier for the grocery store to get a refund from the manufacturer, since they deal with them all the time, and it’s much easier for me to get a refund/exchange from the retailer, since I deal with them all the time.

          • [MG]LooseCannon says:

            “Wal-Mart didn’t say they don’t care. A “low-level employee” said the manager wouldn’t care.”

            Yes, there you have it. An employee of WalMart said they didn’t care. Exactly.

            “The OP should be dealing with the manufacturer anyway.”

            And now you’re blaming the OP. So to sum up, you’re defending WalMart for having crap service, and blaming the OP for contacting WalMart.

            *cough* shill *cough*

            • glorpy says:

              It’s entirely appropriate to contact the manufacturer, as that is the party at fault. Obviously, the contents of the can were not processed properly and mold was allowed to grow. Mistakes happen in manufacturing.

              I once bought a box of ice cream treats that contained 3 pieces when it was supposed to have 4. I contacted the manufacturer and they sent me coupons for new product, a couple times over, actually. Nor did they make me return the original product.

              It’s also appropriate to contact the retailer though if more immediate resolution is required. Yes, the low level employee was acting as an agent of the company, and clearly was not doing a good job. At this point, then, the complaint is less with the company or the product, than it is with that specific employee, especially given Walmart’s official return policy.

              OP should absolutely go to the store to handle returns rather than try to do it over the phone and now he REALLY should go to the store, to speak with a manager directly to complain about the errant handling of company policy on the part of the employee.

        • lincolnparadox says:

          MC Nick Cannon has a point. Wal Mart is known for crappy service. If the OP had shopped at the Food Lion or Kroger in Portsmouth, they would probably be more sensitive to his request.

          Still, I agree that ConAgra Foods would be the better company to direct a complaint. There are even directions on how to do so on the label.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It’s Chef Boyardee, not a Wal-Mart brand. That can could have been shipped to any other store, and the same thing could have happened. The difference is, other stores would probably give a crap.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        That doesn’t matter. Walmart gets corner-cutting Walmart versions of clothes and electronics and tools and all kinds of things. I don’t think food is so far-fetched.

    • MooseOfReason says:

      You just hate Wal-Mart and attribute any problem to their low costs.

  2. tbax929 says:

    I don’t generally have a problem with Wal-Mart, but I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania in which Wal-Mart was our only option for many grocery items, so I can relate. Now that I have many more options, I still shop at Wally World for paper goods and toiletries, but I don’t buy food there.

    I’ve been a big Chef Boyardee fan since I was a kid. The OP is right; it’s great in a pinch. I’ve never gotten mold in a can. If I did, I doubt I’d ever be able to buy it again. Gross.

    Anyway, what a terrible reaction from whomever he talked to at Wal-Mart. I know it’s only a buck or so, but I’d speak with a manager about the attitude of his/her employees.

    • Batwaffel says:

      It’s really amazing the differences in Walmart where we live (I’m small town PA as well) compared to some place like larger cities in California. It’s like night and day difference.

      Our Walmarts, for the most part, are well kept, clean, well stocked, and have decent help. Not so much the case in larger areas. I now understood after going to a few of these metropolis Walmarts why people treat them with such disdain.

  3. indymps6 says:

    Why not contact Chef Boyardee? I ran into a similar problem with a package of the pre-cooked Uncle Ben’s rice this past summer. I called up their consumer hotline number on the packaging and spoke with a very nice older woman who was quite concerned about the issue of moldy rice. She told me to dispose of the rice but to hold onto the packaging and send it back to Uncle Ben’s so they can investigate the packaging. She I would receive a postage-paid envelope from them to return the packaging. About a week or so later I received the envelope along with a handful of coupons for free Uncle Ben’s rice products.

    • kerry says:

      It’s also been my experience that the manufacturer will care greatly about any quality issues you run into with their food. I’ve never tried to return a faulty item to the supermarket, I just call the number on the product, report the lot # and perhaps have to mail the container back. They usually apologize with more than enough coupons to cover a replacement. One time I bought two moldy containers of Earthbound Farms lettuce (opened on the same day I purchased them at the store, well before the “sell by” date) and they sent me 6 coupons for replacement packages, as well as a formal apology letter.

    • Bohemian says:

      What is more disturbing is how many packages might have foodborne pathogens or whatever but not enough to visually see it as a big gob of mold. I think those Chef Boyardee cans are the ring on top cans that you pull open. I can see how they would leak easier than the variety that needs a can opener.

  4. stuckinms says:


    That being said, this is nasty. Has the consumer actually attempted contacting the manager to report this and the rude behavior?

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s what I was wondering. Do people just immediately complain to Consumerist before even giving management a chance to rectify a problem?

      • MikeB says:

        Was wondering the same thing myself, and if I were him, I would contact the manufacturer. Not to try and get anything, although they will probably give him some coupons, but to let them know there was a major issue with that can which can point to issues with the lot.

      • Laura Northrup says:

        Sometimes, yes.

  5. eccsame says:

    I’ve heard of a similar scam where you put a baby mouse in an empty bottle of beer, and then go to the beer store and tell them you’ll sue if they don’t give you free beer. Of course, when my brother and I tried it, the guy told us to take it up with the brewery. eh.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Cause we can all re-seal our own cans at home. Totally not the same as a beer bottle.

      • Kamidari says:

        Not that I want to defend the mouse thing (can’t believe it’d work, anyay), but either way you have an open item with something icky in it. It’s not like the OP opened the sealed can in front of the Wal-Mart employee.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          The post implies that the OP is attempting to scam Wal-Mart, when it seems reasonable to give the OP the benefit of a doubt. Why would you attempt a scam and write to Consumerist about it?

          • Kamidari says:

            I don’t know why people do a lot of things… Maybe to put more pressure on Wal-Mart? If you’re willing to try to scam, why not try to get pressure on them to settle? Not at all saying that’s what’s going on here, but if you’re gonna scam, might as well do it right. ;)

            Anyway, totally missed the strange brew reference… Good movie, but I haven’t seen it since it was actually a new movie, back in my HS days. Good one!

      • JulesNoctambule says:

        It’s a reference to the movie ‘Strange Brew’.

    • Lauchlin says:

      The other repliers fail.

    • theblackdog says:

      If there was a heart next to your name, I’d be clicking it right now, hoser.

  6. pwillow1 says:

    Contact the manufacturer. There’s probably contact information on the can. I’ve called companies when I purchased a food product that I was disappointed in, and I’ve been promptly refunded.

    • Hogan1 says:

      This is the correct course of action. You don’t blame the store for a manufacturing issue.


      It’s a pity 95% of people are too ignorant to do this and blame the point of purchase for their woes.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I think contacting both the store and the manufacturer is a good course of action. If you contact the manufacturer, it can handle a recall on a large scale. But while it’s conducting its investigation, you want people to be aware of what you’ve found, and you don’t want people to keep buying products that may be potentially contaminated. The mold on the top is just what you see. It doesn’t mean there isn’t bacteria under the surface. Contacting the store would allow it to either temporarily pull the items from the shelf or issue a warning. It’s up to the consumers to make stores aware of these kinds of things.

  7. 339point4 says:

    I’d definitely call the manufacturer. Keep the can so you have all the info they need. They’ll probably send you something – a coupon, a replacement can, a case of beefaroni, etc – but more importantly, they’ll know about what appears to be a manufacturing defect and can look into it.
    Don’t bother with Walmart.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    First, ewwwww.
    Second, Wal-Mart, your creative methods of angering people never cease to amaze. How hard is it to say “holy crap, ew” and hand over $1.09. This isn’t even a story that could have been potentially made up simply because someone needed money. I could see how if someone brought back a TV after the Super Bowl, you’d know what was what and refuse the return. But this is a can of weird noodles in terra-cotta orange sauce. It’s $1.09. The fact that Wal-Mart is quibbling over the amount is trumped only by the fact that it is obvious that the food is contaminated in some way.

    I agree that Larry needs to contact his local health department. And stop eating Chef Boyardee until the mess is cleared up.

    What you see when you open something that is moldy is just the top of the mold – the bacteria that creates it could already be in the food if it’s contamination that is going to cause mold.

    • Wombatish says:

      Second the ewww… the fat got a cat D: (And that picture made it look like that guy was choking the cat), WTB Mold Cat, come save my chance of eating later today.

      And having it be larger and even more prominent in the story was not exactly what I was cruising for.

    • trujunglist says:

      bacteria doesn’t create mold. mold spores create mold. in fact, bacteria and mold will fight to the DEATH over who gets to feast on your formally edible nom noms. bacteria usually means stinky, mold usually means… moldy.

  9. Nighthawke says:

    Oh, thankyouverymuch. Just what I needed to see while eating my breakfast….

  10. aka_mich says:

    I’ve had this happen to me with a jar of salsa, interestingly also from Walmart. I guess that’s really not the issue with this story though, at the time I didn’t care enough about a $2 jar of salsa to make a stink about it. Probably a good thing I didn’t either, if I had gotten any gruff like the OP did some surly Walmart employee would have been salsified.

    And I’m not sure what there is not to believe, probably a dumb question but are Walmart employees really that dumb. There is a receipt with the date on it, a can with an expiration date on it, it’s not like we need to call David Caruso in on this one.

  11. chiieddy says:

    He should definitely call Chef Boyardee with the lot # off the can so they can keep record if the entire lot went bad.

  12. RandomHookup says:

    Larry says that he opened a can of chef boyardee recently online to find a horrible giant mold world growing inside.

    Help me out here. How does one open up a can online? Have we now connected our can openers to the web?

  13. PencilSharp says:

    Okay. OP did some things right, and some things wrong. Let Uncle PS show you the proper way to deal with this:

    1. Contact ConAgra (the manufacturers of Chef BAD) immediately. This is probably damage from shipping, but if it’s not, there could be serious trouble with the batch. Here, I’ll even provide a link for you.

    2. Escalate. Mr/Ms Minimum Wage doesn’t want to hear it? Contact that store’s Grocery Manager. Trust me, as a former GM, he’ll definitely want to hear it.

    3. While the local Health Dept should be advised, there’s not a whole lot they can do at this point, unless this particular WM has a history of bad food reports. Still, no harm to OP from letting them in on it.

    4. Consumerist should be the last place to be told. It’s not that we commenters don’t want to know about it (we do, we do), but the managements of WM and ConAgra should at least get a chance to work this out first. If you’re still not satisfied, then let Ben and the others know.

    And, finally, stuckinms, as a proud user of ellipses, I must formally protest your assumption that there can ever be “Too… many… ellipses…”

    Why, how else could I ever end a post and reserve the right to put my other foot in my mouth later down the line…
    And they’re so cute

    • stuckinms says:

      I second your post.

      However, I am a firm believer in the use of ellipses, but I like to take mine in moderation.

      Maybe they were really used as moderately as possibly, but his email had A LOT of information removed.

    • subtlefrog says:

      RE #3. The local health department can’t do anything unless there is a long history – but that history has to start somewhere, right? If this is a trend, if there is (doubtful), but if there IS something about that WalMart, the documentation needs to start somewhere.

      More importantly, if there is a larger contamination story happening, this is where the documentation will begin, and this is how they will start to track it.

  14. joshuadavis says:

    Because everyone knows nurses and firefighters can’t commit crimes. Im a firefighter and my wifes a nurse so were far from somer kind of criminal trying to scam for a can of beefaroni

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      Yeah, that comment irked me too. Are C-level executives the only people left scamming for a can of beefaroni? I understand trying to project an image of civil servitude = honesty, but it doesn’t always work like that. For example, there are a lot of crooked law enforcement people in the world, and our leaders (politicians) are the worst. It’s like you have to cull a baby seal to get elected…

      I’m not picking on the OP here, but I am curious. If receiving a replacement or a refund wasn’t the objective of calling the store…then what was the objective?

      • portsmouthnative says:

        you to you piss ant…..your a fucking joke….you should be ashamed….’were all the same” huh?

        remember that next tme you call 911 and want me to run into your burning house YOU wont go into and rescue you kids… no better or worse than a used car salesman…right?

        • kerry says:

          Um, just because you run into burning buildings doesn’t make you morally superior or inherently less likely to commit a crime.

        • Cyberxion says:

          Yeah, you know, taking a selfless job doesn’t mean that you can’t be a douche in other respects. Take your post for example. Not only did you grossly misinterpret what he was trying to say there, but you addressed him in the most classless manner possible. You may save kids from burning buildings, but you’re still sort of a dick.

          So it is entirely possible that this firefighter and his nurse wife could be thieves. Unlikely, but possible. The point is that our professions don’t define us. If they did, then I’d be one step down from being Santan.

      • iesika says:

        Probably to inform them they were selling a food product that was spoiled. There’s a good chance there were more like it in the same lot. If I were a grocery store, I’d damned well open some more cans and check. Any priced-out inventory is certainly worth not being “that store that sold the food that made everyone sick.”

    • bubbledumpster says:

      that’s exactly what i was going to say.

  15. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Besides contacting walmart I would ensure you contact Chef Boyardee so they know there was a defect in a line of products. They’d be more than happy to issue you a refund I’m sure.

  16. blogger X says:

    And there goes lunch!

  17. LostTurntable says:

    Getting over the stomach flu. Thanks for that pic.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Think of it as an aerial view of Central Park with the “Independence Day” alien spaceship hovering over it.

  18. chemmy says:

    Email Chef Boyardee as well. I’ve found that manufacturers are A LOT more responsive than the stores are. The stores act like you’re trying to scam them whereas in my experience, the manufacturers usually seem helpful and often reimburse you or send coupons for free products.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I’ve done some work in the past for manufacturers picking up items like this reported by consumers. Usually, it’s a foreign object of some kind and I would ship the original package and the item back to the makers for analysis. They did “take it seriously”.

  19. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    Don’t look at it as icky mold, think of it as a pharmaceutical experiment that might save mankind (After all isn’t that how pennicillin was found, in mold that grew in water that cooked sweet corn or something like that).

  20. H3ion says:

    Is it possible that the can was the Beefaroni with penicillin product?

  21. Smashville says:

    Not blaming the OP…just offering a little constructive criticism if you actually plan on writing a letter somewhere.

    “Youde” is not a word. If he decides to submit a written complaint anywhere, he’s going to need someone to proofread it. Comma splices and such won’t hurt your cause. But “youde”?

    Also, there are plenty of nurses and firefighters that commit crimes. In fact, nurses and nurses aides are generally the only ones that ever get convicted of diversion. You can tell them your profession, but don’t drop it merely as evidence of innocence.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I’m in editing, so I see a lot of writing like this. “Were” vs. “we’re” and the like just drives me insane. That said, I’ve learned that some people just don’t have the education to back up proper writing skills, and even though I think it’s simple, I’ve come to realize that, for a lot of people, writing properly is as daunting as it would be for me to undergo firefighter training, something that could have come naturally to the OP. I’m sure the OP is a fine firefighter, with skills that I could never hope to amass, but I hope he gets someone to proofread his letter to Chef Boyardee, if he decides to write one.

  22. vesper says:

    Ok,,,Larry,,,,don’t make a drama out of this. I’d been in manufacturing for nearly 20 years and this stuff happens; that’s life, but it rarely happens. If you didn’t eat then you’ll be fine and there is no need to worry. The local health deparment probably won’t do anything about Walmart (more than likely) but I would contact the company that packages this food and send it to them. There is a code on this can and they’ll able to track it to a specific time and day. If they’re records are well documented and controlled they’ll be able to find out what happened. And I can almost promise you that Chef Boyardee will send you some coupons for free food. As tight as manfacturing is in this country this rarely happens. I’ve been in volved in Lean Six-Sigma and Quality engineering for years before going government and statistically this probably only happens one in a million, if that.
    Back in 1989 I opened up a box of that cheap-o pancake mix but I don’t remember the name. They’re small boxes and cost about .35 cents? They make about every type of ‘quick-mix’ you can think of such as corn bread, etc. Anyway, after opening the box I found those little tiny black bugs that love to crawl into flour. That hadn’t happened before ’89 and it hasn’t happened since (as far as I could see). I just threw it away and opened another.

  23. cortana says:

    I dunno. extra protein can’t be all bad!

  24. NORMLgirl says:

    Definitely contact Chef Boyardee. Their customer service department will be very interested to hear this and happy to compensate you with a few coupons. They may even ask you to send in the can (if you still have it) so that they can determine the type of mold.

    I worked for a large canning company and they took issues like this “very seriously”. Sadly there really are people out there who would scrape off the mold an eat it anyway.

    • webweazel says:

      Okay, the photo here doesn’t bother me. I actually laughed at the cooked rat on the bottom of the bread seen here a while back. I can watch brain surgery on TV while eating spaghetti and sauce. I have a pretty strong stomach. This:
      “”Sadly there really are people out there who would scrape off the mold an eat it anyway.””
      made my stomach swirl. Now I can’t even LOOK at lunch.
      Thanks so much for sharing…AAAACK

      • NORMLgirl says:

        The number one comment from people who get food poisoning: “It smelled funny, but I ate it anyway.”

        Non foodborne illness related but since you can stomach it– I spent a few months analyzing foreign material that had been found in canned products (everything was sterile!!). One guy mailed in a small pebble, along with a half-black tooth. In his note, he said “I only had 6 teeth left but that one would have lasted me longer if I hadn’t bit down on that rock and broken it off.”

        In those few months I saw so many things that could make it in to the food supply. But you know what? I still believe that our food is safer now than it has ever been! And, I know the hard work that GOOD companies put in to keeping food safe.

  25. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    my best guess is that the can was dropped at some point during handling, breaking the seal, or it was somehow improperly sealed at the factory.

    (IIRC, cans like that are formed, cleaned, filled, heate4d, then sealed while they’re still pretty hot.
    source: years of watching Food:Unwrapped and How It’s Made)

  26. cmdr.sass says:

    I’m not sure what being a firefighter or a nurse has anything to do with it. Being employed in those professions doesn’t magically make you above suspicion.

    • portsmouthnative says:

      what exactly am i suspected of….Im not looking for anything… and i thought being a firefighter making low pay meant MAYBE folks thought something of us…..ther goes that….poof thanks

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Don’t take it personally.

        Saying you are X and using that as evidence that it obviously means one is an upstanding citizen doesn’t actually prove that one is an upstanding citizen. It’s not actual evidence. It’s not a judgment on you specifically – it’s that “I am X, obviously I have a working moral compass” is not a real argument. Even priests take pens from the bank.

        • portsmouthnative says:

          lol true…..but what the hey….was trying to make it clear that in no way are we at all seeking ANYTHING….more of an FYI and for a good laugh……personally I talked to con agra and they took it VERY seriously.
          The representative i spoke with gathered what she needed and sent out a package so that we can send the can back for inspection….perhaps this can help all of us by helping con agra determine if something went awry……its a win win in my book….

    • Orv says:

      Although it can make you immune to tickets. I remember hearing a cop say that he always gave a warning to nurses because he never knew if some day he’d get shot and be under their care in the hospital. He wanted to stay on their good side.

  27. portsmouthnative says:

    ok so Im larry……and Im gonna respond to some of these comments for one… not a great sentence constructionist….thats probably not a word either…my wife calls em larrinisms…anyway sorry you dont like my grammar….ill work on it….seriously…..other thing is…. I did contact con agra foods and thanks to all those who reccomended that… especially PS…that link got me to em…..Im not trying to raise a stink and im not looking for anything….just dont want anybody to get sick and was just floored with the treatment at wal mart….but we have had problems at this store before….however they carry many of the items we need that arent carried elsewhere in our city….as far as career choice….i would hope that the background checks we go through equates to having less criminals in our profession…not necessarily none but less……so yes I did and will use that to provide credibility that im not unemployed and trying to “cash in”…..wede just feel terrible if some little one got sick and we hadnt made an effort to properly report it……

    I called back to wal mart during this event and they wouldnt let me speak to the manager….they said they would take down my info and give me a call back…its 10:30 AM here…..nothing as of yet and i left the mesage around 7 last night….any way just wanted to chime in

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Good thing you talked to the manager. Even if they are entirely unresponsive to you, at least you tried. I’m sure Con Agra would be able to help you more than Wal-Mart can, since I doubt Wal-Mart particularly cares about the wellbeing of anything other than its bottom line. Good for you for being active. A lot of people would probably shrug and throw it out, but it’s good that people still work out of concern for others.

      Also, “constructionist” really is a word.

      As for grammar, if I was harsh, I’m sorry. If you don’t mind a little advice – the grammar can be improved, but you write concisely, and that’s better than having perfect grammar. It’s the ellipses that you could look into modifying. You’re writing in complete sentences, so periods are all that you really need to get the point across. Ellipses are used to indicate removed text, and to denote pauses. So you could see how people reading your writing (whether here, in the real world, or wherever) might not get the full meaning of your writing because of the ellipses, which aren’t just dots in a row – they actually hold definition for people.

    • oneandone says:

      I understand your desire to report it; that would have been one of my first thoughts too. An obvious hazard always makes me want to do something about it, and let whoever is in charge of it know that it should be fixed. (Perhaps I am a busybody). Add in the grossness, and this is definitely something I’d want to draw attention to. Good for you, and hopefully ConAgra will look into this & find out what happened.

    • Nigromancer says:

      Pecan was very nicely informed you on proper use of ellipses. I’m going to give you even more useful advice: don’t use them. They are rarely needed and, in fact, can be worked around when they are needed.

      You clearly use them incorrectly. Practically every instance you used them in your letter and your comment is an example of a poor usage of ellipses. Just don’t use them any longer. Abstain from them and you will dramatically improve the quality of your writing. Otherwise, the current quality of your writing would detract some readers from fully reading your letters and that is largely the result of poor usage of ellipses; without them, your writing would be fine.

      • Nigromancer says:

        Also, in the very first line of my reply, I failed to proofread.

        It should state, “Pecan very nicely informed you…” I had a different original sentence construction that I changed during the middle of the sentence. I should have checked that.

    • the atomic bombshell says:

      I have to admit I haven’t read anything of yours. The ellipses make it too much work for me to get through. I use ellipses too, but you’re pretty well just using them in place of a period here.

    • ovalseven says:

      Are you serious? It’s bad enough that you used your profession to gauge your own morality against others. Now, you seem to be implying that the unemployed are less credible and more likely “to cash in”.

      If you should happen to lose your job through no fault of your own, should you lose your credibility along with it?

      • portsmouthnative says:

        yep im serious…..and if your really that sensitive to the statement maybe you should find another site……its bad enough people like YOU dont wanna give FF’s/Police/Nurses a little respect…….Im gonna carry some of these anti-public safety comments with me going forward……just remember nothing says a FF or Nurse or Police Officer has to go that extra mile for you……nothing in our rule book makes us run into a fire or a gun battle to pull you out we dont get paid well and can choose not to……so the next time you need US be sure to let that guy or gal YOUR calling for help know he/she has got no more credibility or any more value than a used car salesman/factory worker (insert career)….cuz you know were all the same……un fucking believable…..people like you are the reason I wanna quit this 30K a year job and take my degree and go make more money private sector….

        • ovalseven says:

          I wasn’t disrespecting the profession. But I resent the implication that an unemployed firefighter, police officer, nurse, or anyone else would be less credible than you.

          So, I’ll ask again… If you lose your job, should you lose your credibility along with it?

  28. dabarak says:

    I thought Chef Boyardee WAS mold.

  29. KixStar says:

    Look people, Walmart is Walmart. They’re the biggest retailer in the world, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, we will all continue to have to deal with the occasional rude employee who’s getting paid minimum wage and knows they probably won’t lose their job.

    So, I would bring the can to Walmart with the receipt, ask to speak to the manager on duty, preferably the store manager if one is available. If they don’t take it back, call Chef Boyardee and move on.

    • Dunkelzahn says:

      Most of these people just don’t admit that they allow themselves to be drawn into the warm florescent glow of their local Wal-Mart.

  30. Rubedo says:

    I have encountered this myself in the past.
    It is why I no longer by those pop-tab lids. It looks like it is sealed but it is not.

    I would rather use a can opener and know the food is ‘safe’ than risk it after seeing similiar green moldy growth on my pasta.

    I would talk to the the makers of Chef Boyardee. I am sure they want to correct any thing that cause damage during the manufacturing process. they may have to look at how they package. They may be sealed in the factory but they are jostled around in trucks and by people ona regular basis. How much stress can a pop-tab lid take? It only does take a pin hole leak to allow a little bit of air in to make it nice for mouldy green friend.

    Also, how long was the product on the shelf? Expiry date? The closer you are to the expiry date the longer it has been on the shelf… I examine that on a regular basis.

  31. ChuckECheese says:

    Had the OP eaten SpaghettiOs this would never have happened.

  32. dabarak says:

    “WAITER!!! My bleu cheese dressing has MOLD in it!”

  33. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    The Walmart near my house would have taken it back with apologies. I wonder what type of attitude this caller had? Why would you call ahead of time instead of just taking it back?

  34. dg says:

    Here’s how to handle it:

    1) Put the can in a ziploc bag. Keep it cool and sealed. Do not open it.

    2) Forget Walmart. Don’t shop there. If you need non-perishables go with If you plan ahead and can wait, then the FREE SHIPPING is great. Get the perishables someplace that cares about the customer. Maybe you have a Schwan’s delivery service (or something like it) out by you?

    3) Call ConAgra – or whomever makes the Chef B stuff. Have the can. Tell them what happened. They’ll take your name, number, address, and send you coupons for another can or two or 10… They *MAY* have you send the can back at their expense.

    4) Call the local newspaper or TV station. Tell them what happened when you called Wal-Mart.

  35. howie_in_az says:

    … weve made a few purchases at this store and have had problems before…..unfortunately its the closest grocery store to us and is the only store that carriers many of the items we need…

    OP, you are justifying their actions by continuing to shop there and give them your hard-earned money. If you cannot return your moldy food, take your business elsewhere.

  36. Wolfbird says:

    -1 point for being hard to read.
    -1 point for feeding your children garbage, apparantly semi-regularly.
    -1 point for dragging out your professions, it rings too much of “holier than thou”.

    +1 point for making Walmart look bad.

    We’re still in the negative. Also, stop talking to low-level employees, they can’t do anything and they don’t care.

  37. Red Cat Linux says:

    Eww. Gross.

    I only eat the Ravioli – I can’t stand the texture of the other pastas they make.

    That said, I recommend contacting the makers:

    “Dear ConAgra, makers of Chef Boyardee Beefaroni –

    We love Beefaroni and buy it all the time. However, I recently had an unpleasant experience with a can of Beefaroni [Lot number and expiration date from bottom of can] which, while it seemed undamaged, contained green, white and black fungus growing on the contents (picture attached).

    The can was purchased on [date] at Walmart #12345, and a copy of the receipt is attached. Walmart is refusing to refund since they feel that the fungus in the can is inconsistent with any products they sell. I’m still stuck with one or more cans of bad Chef Boyardee products.

    Can you please refund us the cost of the bad cans? I’d be happy to send the unopened ones wherever you’d like if you wish to examine them.

    Thank you,

    Long time fan of Beefaroni”

    You aren’t really happy to send the cans anywhere, and they probably won’t ask for them back. But the couple of times I’ve had to do this for a bad product, the manufacturer has always come through.

    You can even try just calling or e-mailing.

    In an un-reported Above and Beyond story, makers of the Natural Balance cat food sent me a coupon for a whole case of cat food because my cats refused to eat cans from one particular lot.

  38. Aaronjk says:

    This isn’t WalMarts fault. It’s a can that slipped by the QC at the plant. Call the 800 number on the can. They will want to know when you bought it, where you bought it, and they will want the codes on the bottom. I will bet you get about 5 coupons for free cans. Most of these companies REALLY want you to let them know, I always call the manufacturer if there is something wrong with food, and I always end up with more free food than just a simple replacement.

  39. awer25 says:

    Just scoop out the top layer – problem solved!

  40. spamtasticus says:

    Be very, very, very, very careful with that mold and more importantly spores from the mold. If you must keep it to further your issue put it in a zip lock back and seal it. Don’t touch it and wash your hands thoroughly.

  41. ElizabethD says:

    I agree with others who have said: Skip the store; go directly to the manufacturer.

  42. runswithscissors says:

    Again the comments are full of OP blaming, from the good old “OP gets what they deserve for shopping there” to “blame the OP because his grammar is sub-par”.

    Has Roz quit? Is there no longer disemvoweling comments? Does the Comments Code no longer apply?

    EVERY story now, the OP gets blamed by half the commenters or more. The message? Companies can screw you over 8 ways from Sunday and the ONLY way you can complain is if you were completely perfect in every regard from your choice in companies to deal with all the way through the grammar of your report.

    This Just World hypothesis crap ( needs to stop. This is a site for Comsumers, not for finding ways to get corporations off the hook by any loophole we can possibly stretch logic to think of!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think you’re misinterpreting the constructive criticism of the OP’s grammar as blame, when I see it as advice on how to more effectively communicate to the proper authorities the issue the OP has with a product. It isn’t blame when you comment on the need to properly and rationally present information. Blame would be to say, “you’re stupid for shopping at Wal-Mart, and you can’t even put together a sentence.” All of the constructive words regarding grammar was, IMO, meant to help the OP in his efforts to address the problem with the proper authorities, whether they be ConAgra or Wal-Mart management.

      Whomever the OP contacts, he probably won’t get very far if he keeps writing with a hundred ellipses in one block of text, doesn’t use appropriate punctuation, and misspells words. The point is to communicate the information as effectively as possible. And if you don’t know how to do this, learn.

      It’s understandable that some people find it difficult to put together a letter. A good format would be:

      My name is _____. [If applicable, mention briefly how you enjoy the product you have purchased, or the manufacturer]. On (date) I purchased (product name) from (store name) in (town, state). On (date), I opened the (product) to discover (problem). The expiration date [if applicable] on (product) is (date). I have attached photos as evidence of this. I was concerned over the nature of this product being (broken, contaminated, moldy, etc.) and wanted to alert the store. I contacted (store), and attempted to discuss the matter with the manager. I am now writing in hopes to alert (company name) to the (problem) with (product).

      Here is all of the information contained on the label of (product).

      (Include UPC codes, stock and lot info, etc.)

      I hope this information will be useful to you in any action you decide to take in alerting the public, or in your investigation. Thank you very much for your time.

      (your name, phone number, address)

      • runswithscissors says:

        Hi pecan,

        You are correct about the few who constructively offer suggestions that the OP fix his writing to be more effective yes. But many commenters veered well off that course and into “don’t care what happened, OP’s writing is poor”. i.e. they dismiss the whole incident because of the writing. That I object to.

        Constructive advice on contacting the manufacturer is also fine, as long as it didn’t veer into “you’re stupid for contacting the store” territory, which some of it did.

        More I object to the folks who blame the OP for shopping at WalMart at all, or play the “whiny baby” card. These are not helpful at all.

        I’ve been on this site for a year or so now – when I started it was an OP-blame-a-thon in each story. Then they pushed the code and Roz came in and things got better for a while… but once we switched technologies to this new site and comments system it seems like the wild west all over again, where there is no code and no disemvowelings. I don’t understand why.

        • Cyberxion says:

          I agree with you wholeheartedly. In fact it’s why I haven’t bothered to send in a story myself. I’ve got one about Comcast that would surprise nobody, sure, but it’s a corker just the same, and I’m in serious need of some help at this point.

          Me being the admittedly oversensitive guy that I am, I don’t think I could weather the blame games that seem so prevalent around here these days. I’m sure that no matter what steps I took to resolve the issue before coming to the Consumerist, and no matter how level-headed and genial I was about it over the course of this long-ongoing ordeal, someone would find something completely arbitrary in my story to justify treating me like an idiot. So I just don’t bother.

          For all the good the site does, the folks who are here simply to express their feelings of superiority over everyone else are doing damage to the site’s credibility and effectiveness. If only Roz were still here.

  43. Orv says:

    You know, I always wonder if I’m tempting fate by buying those imported, made-in-China instant soup bowls from the Asian market. The thing is, Chinese instant soup technology is light-years ahead of the thin, salty stuff Americans make.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I love those. I absolutely love those, and if left to my own devices, I probably wouldn’t stop eating them. They’re an impulse buy and at 80 cents to $1.10 each, I can justify it. Not all of them are made in China. A lot of them are Japanese. If you’re concerned about the styrofoam packaging, you can always take it out and put it in a small pot (if you’re at home), and heat it up on the stove.

      Or you can get the packages that aren’t in bowls. Those are equally as yummy.

      Aw now I really want one of those bowls.

      • Orv says:

        I’m not going to stop eating them, either. ;) But after reading “Poorly Made in China” I have to wonder a little about the level of sanitation in the plant they were produced in.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I grew up eating all sorts of imported Chinese things, and I’m perfectly fine. In fact, I still eat a lot of those imported things. I think it’s more about awareness than anything – back then, import/export was less focused on the world at large, and a lot of companies catered to ethnic groups nearby, or in home cooks. Now we see dried scallops being used in non-Asian restaurants, and there’s more pressure to sanitize, lest the country that noticies shady practices issues restrictions.

          Generations upon generations have eaten potentially harmful things (white rabbit candy, dried oysters) that are now being restricted because the plants are deemed unsanitary or potentially unsanitary. They’re all fine. I’m not incredibly worried. I mean, I’ll avoid white rabbit candy because of the melamine, but no one’s going to keep me from using those delicious dried mushrooms (you soak them before you use them) in my risotto.

  44. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    If had similar problems with other products.
    Take some photos.
    Phone the manufacturer, be nice, and they will mail you a bunch of coupons.
    If they don’t want the product back then take it to Walmart for a refund. Walmart has a very lenient no-questions-asked refund policy.
    Email Consumerist for sport.

    I don’t know what else you can reasonably expect except a refund and coupons.

    I am very surprised at Walmart’s reaction. It doesn’t sound typical. Refunds are no problem.

  45. failurate says:

    Is there a Mycologist in the house? It appears the OP bought an unsealed can. I am fairly certain the vacuum created in a properly sealed can would keep stuff like that from growing. Also, the heat used in the canning process sterilizes the contents of what is in the can, so there would be nothing alive that could grow like that.
    I always check cans for dents or bulges.

    • failurate says:

      If you look at the mold on the lid, it is thickest where the tab used for opening the can is located. That would be your failure point, where the can’s seal was broken.

    • trujunglist says:

      myconaut here, ready to assist!

      yes, I agree with your analysis.

  46. jerrycomo says:

    It seems that Larry…

    (puts sunglasses on)

    Got canned by hostile and incredulous Wal-Mart employees…


    ♫ We don’t get fooled again ♫

  47. [DFX] Deimos says:

    Another low for the Consumerist, seriously, are you guys just taking any story that people send in? Here is one from PocketNinja over @ Fark that sums it up nicely:

    “You know, I used to believe that the biggest collection of morons on the Internet, as a measure of those who contribute to and take away from (through reading) a website, was a close tie between Free Republic and American Thinker. But I’m really starting to see that The Consumerist has them both beat by a fairly significant margin.”

    • Cyberxion says:

      Says the guy posting on Fark.

      I’m sorry Deimos, but his criticism is hardly as scathing as you appear to believe it is. Though ironically, that you so readily accepted it might just have validated it to some small degree.

  48. shepd says:

    WalMart is shitty with food returns. I tried to return some honey roasted almonds because the picture on the can clearly showed sprinkled on honey flavouring, but the nuts instead had honey glaze on them. YUCK! I hate glazed nuts!

    They wouldn’t do it because of “health regulations”. I said, okay, if that’s the case I’ll be letting the people that make those regulations know you sell adulterated product. They still didn’t budge. I looked around for 10 minutes and stopped by and said I’d appreciate the address for the health inspector before I leave so I can file a complaint (I actually knew it from another place I did have inspected, but I was hoping they’d change their minds knowing I’m serious). Now the manager comes out and realizes that a $4 tin of nuts isn’t worth the hassle of a health inspection and does the refund, but still says they are making an exception. I asked how they expect to run their new supermarket without taking returns. No answer, of course.

    Funny thing is, though, when I complained to corporate, corporate was very helpful, apologetic, and had, due to my complaint, phoned that specific store and told them that yes, WalMart does accept returns for unacceptable food and required the manager to hold a meeting with all staff to re-educate them on the matter, and to remind them that just because a return can’t go back on the shelf or back to the manufacturer (one of their complaints) isn’t a reason to deny it.

    All over $4. I have a feeling a manager at a WalMart hates me now… :^D

    PS: I had a closer look online and also at their shelf, and, sure enough, the picture for HICKORY roasted almonds had been reused on the HONEY roasted almonds. Lame.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Where do you live? Walmarts across the U.S. have very liberal return policies. They will even permit a certain number of returns per person per year without receipt (but they will record personal information and keep a record to make sure you’re not abusing the system). I’ve had the occasional problem returning stuff to WM, but then I’ve had problems returning stuff to all sorts of shops. Walmart does not have the monopoly on stupid; it is simply the biggest lummox in town.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      I am surprised. I’ve seen customers returning meat to my local Walmart just because they’d changed their minds. Walmart will take back just about anything and they don’t even pay attention when you start into a well rehearsed excuse.

  49. Urinal Gum says:

    All Wal-Mart (and all corporations) cares about is making money hand over fist. They don’t care about you unless appearing to do so will make them more money. The downfalls of this are apparent everywhere you turn. It is best if you avoid the company all together. Support your local businesses. They’re actually likely to care about you on a personal level.

    /and don’t eat that crap:

  50. Crimson Librarian says:

    Why are people surprised that low-level employees treat them rudely? They’re usually low-level because they aren’t motivated or bright enough to advance. Of course there are exceptions. But really…ask to speak to a manager and don’t bother telling the person on the other end of the phone why. It wastes your time.

  51. Raeth says:

    I had a similar problem with a local brand bleu cheese dressing that came in sealed glass jars. It tasted sour and clung with a slimy film to any greens it touched. I had to trash an entire salad I had spent nearly an hour preparing.

    A quick email to the company and after requesting the lot number and store location they said it sounded like it had been left unrefridgerated for too long and put in an inquiry with the store. I don’t know what happened from there, but they sent me a coupon for a replacement immediately. :) There’s no external signs of an issue, so the retailer is not at fault. It is, however, good business for them to accept the return since you purchased it from them.

  52. Chuck Norris' wig says:

    So, how did it taste?

  53. trujunglist says:

    You know, I don’t understand why low level employees don’t take food more seriously. It’s like they’ve never gotten sick from food or even understand that you can get sick from food. It took me 3 calls to my local supermarket to inform them that they’d accidentally put clam chowder in with their potato bacon because they look similar. Although tasty to me (an interesting combo; potato bacon + clam chowder), this could have had potentially deadly consequences to someone with an allergy to shellfish. The first call was not taken seriously at all.. I could tell, and they didn’t transfer me to the correct department. The second time I called because I still didn’t feel good about the resolution, they immediately transferred me, but the person there didn’t seem to care at all! I was repeating over and over why I thought it was very important information and she would just go oh… yeah… we didn’t do it on purpose… etc. so, I let it go and hung up. But I still felt really uneasy about it. After about 5 minutes of feeling like shit over it, I called again, and finally spoke to a manager or something that confirmed what I was saying and understood the possible consequences. I think they were afraid that I was scamming them or mad for the soup mix up rather than just trying to prevent a serious problem for them.

  54. AngryK9 says:


  55. carlogesualdo says:

    Nothing makes me more angry than to see something like “this is the manager, but they won’t be interested in what you have to say (or they’ll just say the same thing I’m saying) …” BS! My response is always, “how about if I actually talk to the manager and see for myself?” Inevitably, the manager has the right response, which in this case would be a refund. I’m sure the mold in the can isn’t Wal-Mart’s fault, but a problem that comes from the way it was either canned or shipped. But Wal-Mart can issue the refund and recoup the loss from ConAgra, who definitely needs to be notified about this. But frankly, my first response would have been to call ConAgra rather than Wal-Mart. These companies have traditionally been responsive to complaints I have made and they usually send coupons for free products. Since these are usually one-time problems, I’m usually willing to make use of them, although in this case, I might find a different ConAgra product besides the canned pasta… Ick!

  56. Bog says:

    I’ve had a few instances where I got a spoiled product. I got a frozen pizza from Stouffer’s that tasted really off, I only ate a couple of bites. Got sick a few hours later. Upon a closer look it had some mold on it. So I refroze the remainder and called Stouffer’s. They asked me to overnight a the product and packaging their cost. To their credit they said it was likely a bad seal in the packing and/or the shipper/store allowed it to thaw and refreeze. That company was very responsive, gave me a post mortum and sent free product coupons.

    Albertson’s gave me an instant replacement and my money back for a bag of shredded cheese that visibly started to mold in it’s unopened package. The expiry was still weeks away. The manager agreed that the cheese shouldn’t have done that.

    At Jack in the Box. I started to eat my fries and saw a big long hair in them. I took them back to the counter. The manager looked at it. (I think it was her’s, similar color, also I am very bald.) She took them back, comped my enter meal, and she trashed the whole bin of fries they just made, from which my fries came.

    Sounds like Walmart has an attitude.

  57. Chinchillazilla says:

    I don’t see the problem. Obviously, he just bought a can that came with broccoli.


  58. datamyt3 says:

    WAL-MART – now there’s your problem…..

  59. foobear says:

    I live in Bentonville Ark, and I and most of the people I know work for Wal-Mart . I can tell you that the treatment you received from that employee is MORE than enough to get them terminated and possibly even to get their supervisor terminated . If they don’t wish to hear what you have to say , take it to the next level and call the Wal-Mart home office and register a formal complaint . They will send out a team to investigate that store . They go in as secret shoppers and see how they are treated . If they get treated the same way , even the store managers job will be in on the line .


  60. Winteridge2 says:

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh! The Chef’s beefaroni was my favorite too. I would probably eat it, then have my widow sue everyone.