Woman says she swallowed screws that were inside banana from local grocery store

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Burnet woman says she spent the night in the hospital after swallowing two screws — which she says were secretly planted inside a banana she bought from the grocery store.

You might think, “How could something like this happen? Wouldn’t you notice? Wouldn’t you feel it?” But Wendi Jarrell says she always takes her medication with food and swallowed them both in one gulp.

“Why? Why would you do that, knowing that you could intentionally hurt someone?” questioned Jarrell. “Is it fun and games? Were they bored? I don’t know.”

Her X-ray shows two screws, approximately a centimeter in length, lodged in her lower intestine. The doctor gave her the option to surgically remove them. Jarrell said she didn’t want that type of procedure and opted to pass them naturally.

She’s worried it could still cause damage to her internal organs.

“You have a foreign object in your belly that’s not supposed to be there,” Jarrell said.

Jarrell said she didn’t notice anything was wrong until she looked down inside the banana and noticed a third screw planted deeply. Her friend urged her to closely examine the peel, and that’s when she noticed a tiny puncture on top. Her son was there to witness her shock.

“Sure enough, the head of the screw was pointing down in there.

“And she said, ‘What is that?’ I said, ‘I think it’s a screw.’ Just a little screw. A black screw,” 19-year-old Brantley Jarrell said.

Jarrell said she bought the fruit at the H-E-B off of TX-29 in Burnet.

A spokesperson for H-E-B said they are investigating how this could have happened. The staff will now monitor the food closely to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

H-E-B works hard to ensure the integrity and safety of all products we offer in our stores, and hold our suppliers to the highest standards in the industry.

On Tuesday, a customer returned Del Monte bananas that appear to contain a foreign material. The product is in the process of being investigated by our Quality Assurance lab, and the customer has been contacted to follow up on her well-being.

As of today, this appears to be an isolated incident. In abundance of caution H-E-B will continue to monitor and look for any trends with this and other commodities.

Tamra Jones, H-E-B, Central Texas Region

Under state law, if someone intentionally lodged the screws in the banana, it would qualify as a second degree felony.

“Tampering with Consumer Product” is the official charge. It applies to food, drugs and virtually anything offered for sale or consumption by the public.

If the act will hurt someone or causes fear to affect sales, it qualifies. A conviction means two to 20 years behind bars.

If a person suffers a serious bodily injury, then the charge can jump to a first degree felony. That’s a minimum of five years and prison and can extend up to 99 years.

Jarrell hopes someone comes forward to accept responsibility.

“Had it been a younger child, or somebody could have choked on it —anything could have happened that could be way worse than what happened to me,” Jarrell said.

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