Restaurant slammed customer after he found live worms crawling around in his dish
A restaurant patron out in New Jersey was stunned and devastated to discover that there were nematodes - tiny worms - crawling around in a fish dish. Jim Guinee was dining with his girlfriend Jennifer Marzano at Stella Marina Bar and Restaurant in Middletown when he noticed something in her (half eaten) cod.
Posting a video of worms crawling around in half-eaten cod to Facebook after the fact, Guinee explained in said video how the fish incident was just the final straw in what had not been a great night overall at the Stella Marina Bar and Restaurant. Explaining that he'd been out celebrating his aunt's 80th birthday, Guinee simply said: "dinner has come to life."
"Not only did we sit through almost our entire dinner without drinks, but now, dinner has come to life. After eating half of your fish, that is not what you want to see."
This video caused quite the buzz on social media, getting shared over 2,000 times, and in response, the Stella Marina stopped serving the dish in question. They also posted to their Facebook page (though that post has since been deleted) apologising for their role in the incident.
"One of our seafood purveyors did send us Saturday’s cod and missed the small worms that were found by two of our guests, located in the center of their piece of fish. We immediately halted serving this dish. We also compensated the family of 8 generously and expressed our sincere concern and apologies that one our guests had anything less than an amazing experience at our restaurant."
But then, having attempted to build bridges, the restaurant then attempted to lash out at Guinee over social media, slamming him for putting them on blast for having worms in their foods. The Stella Marina Bar and Restaurant were reportedly "very surprised" at Guinee, who is an attorney, criticising them online.
"[We were] very surprised at the callousness and irresponsible reaction of an attorney of law to attempt to destroy our reputation & possible livelihoods due to something that could have happened to anyone, whether cooking at home or in a restaurant."
Guinee was upset to have been called out by the restaurant in such a manner, and let them know as much in a reply to their Facebook post. "If I were a plumber, would they have attacked me as 'a callous plumber?' " Guinee hit back. "It seemed like they were trying to divert attention rather than address the issue."
Although it can be very nauseating to find such a thing in a fish dish, nematodes and other worms can often be found in fish - especially wild ones. As the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization explains.
"No matter how carefully fish is inspected by processors, caterers and retailers, some worms will occasionally be discovered in fish by the consumer," the organization said. It added: "It should therefore be emphasized that the presence of worms in fish offered for sale does not imply carelessness or bad practice on the part of the processor or retailer."
The local Health Department decided not to comment on the incident.