Costco customer says he found box cutter blades in chicken
Lynda Steele & Sandra Hermiston , CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, January 13, 2014 6:00AM PST
Last Updated Monday, January 13, 2014 7:05PM PST
A Costco customer says he’s unhappy with how the retail giant is handling his complaint after he found box cutter blades in chicken he purchased from its Calgary store.
Ralph Wettstein and his wife Valerie bought two packages of boneless Lilydale chicken at a Calgary Costco in October. But when he went to eat the chicken two weeks later he got a nasty surprise.
"I bite into the chicken and I feel something crunch in the right side of my mouth and I say, ‘oh I think I got a bone in this," said Wettstein.
It turns out what he bit down on wasn’t a bone at all, but was actually two blades from a box cutter knife.
“When he spit it out and said, 'oh my God Val it's a razor blade,’ it was like, surreal," said Valerie Wettstein.
The blades sheared off part of a tooth on Wettstein's dental bridge, which stopped the metal from cutting into his gum. The situation could have been a lot worse. Wettstein, who recently had heart surgery, said his surgeon told him he could have died if he swallowed the blades because of the blood thinners he’s taking.
Wettstein says at first Costco officials seemed concerned and promised to investigate, but was then told he would have to deal directly with Lilydale, the company that prepackaged the meat.
Lilydale inspected the metal samples found in the chicken and told the Wettsteins it doesn't allow or use that type of razor blade in its processing plants.
Frustrated by the response, the Wettsteins decided to contact Steele on Your Side. Consumer reporter Lynda Steele contacted Lilydale on their behalf.
Lilydale refused to comment on whether it was possible for a razor blade to get in a product in the plant and go unnoticed, however it did say there was no need to change protocols and that its products are completely safe.
Unhappy with the comments, Wettstein said he was willing to take a lie detector test to prove that the razor blades were indeed inside the chicken he purchased.
Costco insists the blades didn't come from its stores either, and that it doesn’t allow that particular metal implement anywhere near any of its fresh departments.
When asked if Costco would stand behind its product, regardless of how the blades got into the chicken, the company said it always stands behind the products it sells and customers who aren't pleased with a product can bring it back. The company said it wouldn’t comment any further because Wettstein had considered taking legal action.
However, Wettstein agreed not to sue as long as he got an apology, and compensation for his damaged dental work. Costco ignored his offer, but Lilydale had a change of heart, and extended an olive branch.
Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard, Lilydale spokesperson said: "The handling of the situation certainly could have been done better,” and said the company offered him compensation.
Wettstein said he accepted the $500 compensation for his damaged dental work and agreed not to take legal action. In an email Wettstein wrote: "They refuse to take responsibility for this as they are concerned more with their bottom line than their consumers. I'm not impressed at all and will never purchase their product knowingly again."