A very unhappy customer took to Facebook on Sunday claiming her family was served with rat head along with a chicken meal they ordered in Popeyes in Harlem, N.Y.
The customer, Rosemary Thomas from Clifton Park, posted photos of the breaded, fried rat head on social media that she said was given to her daughter, niece and sister at the fast food restaurant.
“Friends and family, this is a meal Popeyes in Harlem served my daughter, my niece and sister,” Thomas wrote. “This is clearly a rat and they have the nerve to have a 5 rating by the department of health.”
She urged everyone to spread the word by sharing the photos.
Thomas also wrote on Facebook that the experience affected her daughter’s health; her daughter felt sick to her stomach and had to be brought to a clinic.
Thomas further commented her daughter seemed to have lost appetite.
“Yesterday, she ate nothing all day,” Thomas said. “All she said she could think of was the rat head after she consumed the crispy part.”
Popeyes released a statement saying they take claims like Thomas’ “very seriously.” The fast food restaurant explained that the branch’s owner tried to contact Thomas when he learned about the issue.
He also reportedly invited the health department to conduct an inspection on the restaurant. The inspection was apparently carried out and the branch was given an "A" rating.
Popeyes has also sent the photos to its poultry supplier.
“Food quality is our top priority,” Popeyes said in a statement.
According to the statement, the chain uses fresh chicken. However, there could be instances when chicken organs are not properly removed. In these cases, the statement explained, such parts could “look unpleasant.” However, “they do not pose a health risk,” the restaurant said.
Popeyes asked Thomas to turn over the rat head she found in the chicken meal, which she claimed was still in her possession.
“Until that testing takes place, we can’t confirm her claim is valid,” Popeyes said.
While the Popeyes branch did receive an “A” rating from the Department of Health early this year, authorities found “evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas” three times in the past, and last year, they said the restaurant was not “vermin proof,” according to Fox News.
Thomas is not the first customer to claim she saw a rat in Popeyes chicken. In July, a woman named Sherry from Louisina also posted on her Facebook account a photo of what looked like a rat inside a chicken breast.
“It is obviously an animal with a tail. Seeing this I’ve thrown up twice already and still feel sick,” Sherry wrote, according to ABC affiliate WGNO.
The restaurant management said it could likely be chicken organ.