SAN ANTONIO (CN) – A Texas woman has sued Popeye’s restaurants, blaming its rice and beans for infecting her with New World screwworms that ate her alive “from the inside out.”
Karen Goode of San Antonio claims the restaurant had actual knowledge that its food contained dangerous flesh eating screwworms, but sold it to her anyway.
She sued Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen dba Popeyes, and its franchisee Z&H Foods, on Feb. 7 in Bexar County Court.
New World screwworms are maggots that infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including people, although human cases are rare, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If left untreated, infestations can be fatal.
Goode claims that the flesh-eating screwworms entered her digestive tract, laid eggs which embedded in the interior lining of her small intestine, “and when hatched, infested plaintiff’s body and began to eat plaintiff alive from the inside out.”
She has been ravaged by E. coli, ulcer-causing Helicobacter Pylori bacteria, and other injuries to her neck, digestive tract, shoulders and arm after unknowingly ingesting the flesh eating parasite, she says in the complaint.
“Defendant allowed food to become adulterated with flesh-eating screwworms and sold to plaintiff for the purpose of plaintiff consuming food, when they had actual or constructive knowledge it contained flesh eating screwworms,” Goode says in the 10-page lawsuit.
“Popeyes and Z&H failed to adequately train employees to adequately inspect, evaluate, control, prepare or maintain food free from flesh eating screwworms,” the complaint states.
Popeyes spokeswoman Renee Kopkowski said Thursday that the corporation does not comment on pending litigation.
Goode’s attorney, Patrick J. Stolmeier of San Antonio, would not comment on the date of the alleged incident, or if the local health department was alerted.
Goode seeks more than $1 million in damages and punitive damages for negligence, medical expenses, physical disfigurement, pain and suffering, loss of bodily functions and lost enjoyment of life — all of them in the past, present and future.
Atlanta-based Popeyes operates some 2,688 restaurants in the United States, three territories, and 25 foreign countries, according to a corporate profile.
New World screwworms have been largely eradicated from the United States, although scattered occurrences have been documented in the past decade in Florida.