A teenage girl said she was left “traumatised” after being served salad at Panera Bread that was covered in blood.
Sarah Wehse, from Muskego, Wisconsin, was eating at the chain-restaurant with her sister Rachel, when her sister noticed what looked like blood on the food.
“My sister told me: ‘Oh my god, I think that’s blood,’” Sarah told WISN 12 News. “I turned the bowl around and there’s already blood pooling on the plate, it’s on the side of the bowl.
“I don’t know how the server didn’t see it when she was giving it to us.”
According to Sarah, they immediately informed their server at the Waukesha Panera, who insisted it the “bright red” liquid was dressing, not blood.
“Dressing doesn’t look like that. I’ve never had a salad from Panera that has bright red dressing like that,” Rachel said.
Despite denying that the Fuji Apple Salad with chicken, which is usually served with a white dressing, had blood on it, the restaurant created a new salad – which was also delivered covered in blood.
“I took it up to [the counter], I had the lettuce in my hand and was like ‘It’s on here again, this has to be blood, it cannot be dressing, how does this happen twice’,” Rachel recalled.
According to the sisters, employees again tried to reassure them it was dressing, before a manager came over and refunded the cost of the salad.
The manager also admitted that one of the Panera employees had cut themselves unknowingly through their glove while handling the food.
“I was traumatised, I was crying and I tried to hold myself together,” Sarah told the news outlet. “I’ve never had something like that happen to me before and I was scared I was exposed to something.”
After the incident, the girls’ mother asked that the Panera employee be tested for Hepatitis and HIV in case Sarah had ingested any of the blood, with both tests coming back negative.
The sisters were also refunded for their entire meal and given coupons, however, Sarah said she does not plan to return.
According to the Waukesha County public health department, who investigated the incident, this is the first issue they have had with that Panera location.
In a statement to The Independent, the company said: “We strive to create a safe and healthy experience for our guests, but this incident fell far short of that. It’s an unacceptable occurrence and we take full responsibility. We’re working with the café to ensure something like this never happens again.”