Janesville36.1°

Local woman finds unpleasant surprise in her potato chips

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Stacy Vogel
February 28, 2009
— Found: One Nokia cell phone covered in crumbs and grease. Unmistakable odor of potato chips.

If that’s your phone, you have some explaining to do.


Emma Schweiger of Janesville Township said she found the phone in a bag of Clancy’s Ripple Potato Chips.


She bought two bags of chips from the local Aldi store Wednesday, she said. That night, she opened one bag and was absent-mindedly grabbing handfuls of chips while reading the newspaper when she felt something hard.


“Your heart just kind of jumps,” she said.


She reached in and grabbed a blue and silver Nokia phone, she said.


Schweiger alternated between laughter and disgust as she described the event to a Janesville Gazette reporter Friday. The offending phone, still covered in greasy potato-chip film, lay on the counter next to the open bag of chips.


It wouldn’t turn on, but it had a T-Mobile chip—the computer kind—and a discolored circle on the back, as if it was once connected to a belt clip.


Schweiger didn’t notice anything odd about the bag when she bought it, but after finding the phone, she and her husband compared the bag with the phone in it with the unopened bag, she said. It was slightly heavier.


The bag says the chips are distributed by Aldi in Batavia, Ill.


Aldi knows of the incident and has informed its supplier, which is investigating the matter, said Martha Swaney, corporate spokeswoman.


“Certainly the health and safety of our customers are our top priority,” she said.


Anyone with concerns about a product can return the product for a refund and replacement product, she said.


Schweiger said she called the local Aldi store, and an employee told her the store would pull all chips with the same brand and expiration date as hers. The employee also told her she could get a new bag of chips, but she doesn’t plan on taking the store up on that offer.


“You kind of don’t want chips for a while” after something like that, she said.


Schweiger contacted the Madison office of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and an official there told her to hang onto the bag for an investigation, she said.


FDA officials could not be reached for comment Friday.


Schweiger isn’t sure what she’ll do next but hopes the FDA can track down the owner of the phone.


She’s glad she found the phone and not a child who might have put it in his or her mouth, she said. She’s also glad the phone wasn’t in a product she would have heated, she said.


Schweiger doesn’t know when she’ll have an appetite for potato chips again, but when she does, she’ll do things a little differently.


“I will never, ever eat chips out of a bag again,” she said. “They will be dumped in the bowl.”



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