Worms weren’t on the menu

Finding a worm in their meal was bad enough. But when it started crawling up her husband's arm, Sarah Smith lost it. "I'm not a dramatic person," said Smith, who asked to remain anonymous because she works a very public job.

Finding a worm in their meal was bad enough.

But when it started crawling up her husband’s arm, Sarah Smith lost it.

“I’m not a dramatic person,” said Smith, who asked to remain anonymous because she works a very public job.

“If it was a hair in my food, I wouldn’t make a big deal, these things happen,” she said.

“But a worm?”

Her husband was eating rice and thought it was a shrimp skin on his lip.

When he wiped it away, he realized it was actually some kind of larva.

“Then it started crawling up his sleeve,” said Smith.

“It had antennas and was brown – I’d never seen anything like it in the Yukon before.”

He flung it away.

That’s when they spotted another, smaller larva on the table.

The waiter quickly killed it, said Smith.

“Had I been thinking, I would have taken a picture of it with my phone,” she said.

“But I was in such shock.”

There were a couple other families in the restaurant and one fellow recommended calling environmental health, the government branch responsible for restaurant inspections.

Smith left environmental health a message as soon as she got home.

The next day, after not hearing back, she called again.

The woman who answered said she’d gotten the message. Then she added, “I just ate at that restaurant two weeks ago and everything was fine.”

Five days later, Smith got another call from the health inspector.

They’d just done an inspection and everything looked fine, she told Smith.

Are you sure it wasn’t a bean sprout? the inspector added.

“A bean sprout isn’t going to grow legs and crawl up your arm,” said Smith.

And then the inspector asked what she wanted her to do about it, said Smith.

So Smith wrote the News, detailing events.

“I was completely offended by the way they (environmental health) treated me,” she said.

“Normally I wouldn’t pursue something like this, but their sarcasm pushed me to it.

“They acted like we were making a big fuss over nothing.”

Environmental Health inspects restaurants once a year if they’re deemed low to medium risk, and twice if they’re high risk, said environmental health manager Benton Foster.

“Maybe they should start doing more random inspections,” said Smith.

“Inspections are always unannounced,” said Foster.

Environmental health takes all complaints “very seriously,” he added.

“The time frame for the follow up inspection is dependent on the complaint.”

But it’s hard to follow-up on something like a worm, without having a picture or the actual worm, he said.

It’s “obviously rare to find worms in food,” he added.

“Substantiated complaints that present an immediate health risk are followed up immediately,” said Foster.

The worm complaint was received on October 13 and the inspection was completed the next day “with no serious violations that would indicate a point of entry for worms,” he said.

Contact Genesee Keevil at

gkeevil@yukon-news.com

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