Saturday, November 24, 2007

About the V8 Incident

I've had a lot of talks with a lot of people about a certain incident involving a certain bottle of V8. One of the main things I've heard is that I need to spread the word, to make sure people are aware. After all, informed consumers are productive consumers. I could do that via a local news organization, but I figured that a better method would be some online method (such as Digg [and yes, that is permission to Digg this article]). However, my previous post on the subject was a bit too...tongue in cheek, I suppose, and many people didn't even realize that it was real. So, I figured I should post a more serious explanation and follow-up, because yes, it was very real.

About a month ago (on Saturday, October 27th, to be exact), I had purchased a bottle of V8 vegetable juice from a local store. The bottle was perfectly normal, and had a long way to go before it was expired. That night, I was eating dinner in my room when I decided to have a high-sodium vegetable supplement to go with my meal. So, I opened up a bottle of V8 and took a sip.

I was immediately repulsed. It was one of the nastiest things I had ever tasted. I had to drink quite a bit of water to wash it down. However, I didn't know what the problem was. After all, it could have just been a bad combination of flavors of the V8 and my food (you know, like how orange juice tastes weird after you brush your teeth). Eventually, though, I came to my senses (and my stomach was feeling a little sick), and so I poured the bottle of juice into my bathroom sink. As I was pouring, I heard a small "thud!" come from the bottle. I had no idea what it could have been, so I looked at the bottle, and this is what I saw:

(WARNING: All pictures shown are not for the squeamish.)
In the Bottle 1
In the Bottle 2

Needless to say, I was horrified. Not only was I finding something solid in my juice, but it was so large that it couldn't even come out of the bottle without some effort. Eventually, I did get it out, and scrutinized it further. Honestly, the first image that popped into my head was "alien egg sac" or something. It was that disgusting. Here are some close-ups for the adventurous.

Close-Up 1
Close-Up 2

Close-Up 3
Close-Up 4

The very fact that this thing was even remotely close to my lips disgusted me. At this point, my stomach feeling a little sick turned into full-on nausea. Needless to say, I haven't had a V8 since.

I had kept both the bottle and the blob-thing in my freezer in order to keep them safe and preserved. Then, a couple days later, I contacted both Campbell's and the FDA to let them know about the situation. What I found pretty interesting about the FDA's response is that my letter was forwarded to the product complaint department, and the FDA liaison's little forward note was, "The pictures are a bit disgusting." That tells you something: when the FDA thinks your pictures are gross, that's a bad sign.

Campbell's response was very much by-the-books. "Mr. Schnorr, we're sorry for this situation, can we get more information, etc." They then sent me a little package which came with $8 worth of replacement coupons. Seriously? Replacement coupons? Do they think I want to buy more V8? Hopefully I can use on some other, non-tomato juice products.

They also sent me a little bag and envelope to ship the little blob into them, to do "tests". However, I have yet to do that yet, partially because I'm cautious about sending the whole thing to them. Who knows, I could call in a month, asking about it, and they could easily say, "Wha? I don't know what you're talking about. But now you've got no evidence, sucka!" I think I need to consult with the FDA before sending anything over.

I've gotten a wide range of ideas from people as to what the offending object could be, from some sort of animal brain (which I sincerely doubt) to a very large fungus that could have seriously poisoned me (that's the most agreed-upon theory).

In the end, I'm just happy that my experience wasn't any worse than it was. And on the bright side, almost nothing related to mold phases me anymore. But we'll see how this plays out.

11 comments:

Rinoa said...

I think you ought to do as that woman in the article did and cut the blob into three pieces, sending a piece to the FDA and to Campbells, but keeping the last piece as proof of what you found. I would also suggest taking pictures of the dissected blob as further evidence, just incase the Campbells tries to take you to court and sue you on false pretenses >_>

Never trust soup people. Especially soup people that let weird looking blobs into their high sodium vegetable drink.

Christopher said...

I believe I said after looking at your pictures: "At first, I thought it was some sort of animal brain that had gotten into the mix." I do agree, it's probably just some fungus colony. Of course, it's much more interesting to think that this is a tell-tale sign of how Campbells takes care of employees who violate the code of conduct:

HR Manager: "Welcome on board with Campbells. Before we go on, I must tell you something."

New Employee: "Sure, what's up?"

HR Manager: "See that stainless steel vat over there, you know, the only with the grinder above it?"

Employee: "Yeah, it that where you mix the ingredients for V-8?"

HR Manager (in a voice not unlike a creepy version of Mr. Rogers): "No, my friend, that is where we send the bad employees to be...(Giggles sinisterly)...'punished.'"

Ah capitalism, so much unlike the glorious red. In America, they will advertise and spend millions to cover up the fact that their quality control is wrong. In Russia, they didn't spend anything on advertisements - you just ate or drank it regardless.

-Comrade Chavez

Chris Smyr said...

GAG. Holy crap.

Definitely some sort of growth, probably from some fruit/vegetable pulp that didn't get filtered out. And sprouted with evil.

Google: V8 Incident. Expect calls from the media =P

Squall said...

looks to me like that was originally some cabbage or lettuce, which didn't process properly, and sprouted the head of wondrousness you found. Try checking around on wikipedia for something that could look like that and survive in the salty vegetable juice environment a bottle of V8 has. Also, it's worth considering that it must have been a rather tough substance, given that it didn't dissolve or fracture into smaller pieces while in transport to the point of purchase. The FDA would know what to do with it, but it may be a substance with bio-toxic properties, and should probably be hermetically sealed, in some sort of super airtight container (or containers) to prevent any slight possibility of contamination of your food source. Good Luck Andrew, stay healthy.

Dr. Cornelius =^..^= said...

Dude, I had a similar incident a couple of days ago:

http://thecatvet.blogspot.com/

legalassassin said...

After seeing a similar incident, I think it is probably the skin of a vegetable that has grown some sort of fungus on it.

Tom Keske said...

Yes, I found the same thing today- even larger- which was why I started Googling and found this site. Seems like enough people seeing it, that a class-action lawsuit might be in order. The expiration date was not until Oct 2010- a full 5 months away, and it had been kept in the refrigerator since day 1 of purchase.

Allison Fancher said...

This same thing happened to me today, with multiple larva-looking particles and chunks floating in my bottle. I even took a sip before I noticed and am now afraid of some sort of infection. Is this normal?

Liz Brown said...

Hi, I realize you found your object several years ago, but I just found a very large chunk of the same thing in my V8 Fusion. Did you ever find out anything more? There is a woman in TX who found a smaller version of the same thing last month. I'm trying to investigate. Mine is as large as the can itself.

Liz Brown

Andrew Schnorr said...

Hi Liz (and consequently, all readers in Futureworld,),

I do have a followup piece to this post, which you can read here:
http://www.thelobotomistsdream.com/2007/12/v8-chronicles-epilogue.html

Long story short, suing was an option, but not one worth the effort. As far as what the item was, it was a growing mold culture, which I was informed occurs, and I quote, "from time to time".

For the record, I have not had a V8 since.

Caroline Ford said...

No offense meant, but this issue goes beyond how the "blob" personally hurt you or could have hurt you. From what I've seen in about 20 minutes, at least 5 other people have head the same experience. One woman was poisoned from it. And to make matter worse, this happened seven years after your incident and Campbells said "this is the first time this has happened" when it clearly is not. V8 is a danger to consumers, and I have not yet heard of any follow-up in which Campbells identified the object and/or took preventative measures. They have, however, asked for the evidence to be mailed to them. Suspicious? I think so.

If not for yourself, at least make a commotion for others. Campbells has made its buyers sick multiple times, and continues to do so. What was in your drink? It's really necessary to have someone tie these cases up into a conclusion so that changes can be made.