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Milton girl finds needle in cereal box

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Ted Sullivan
July 24, 2009
— Katy Jones, 6, thought it was cereal jiggling inside her cereal box, but what she found scared her.

“A needle came out,” she said. “It fell out on the floor when I dumped the box upside down.”


Katy found the needle Saturday, July 11, after pulling out the Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal bag to do a puzzle on the box.


The needle, which was the length of a quarter, was found on the bottom of the box, outside the cereal bag.


She showed it to her parents, Rhonda and Everett Jones.


“I was shocked. I couldn’t believe it,” Rhonda said. “I was really freaked out that she was bringing a needle to us.”


The Milton family immediately called Woodman's Food Market in Janesville, where they bought the cereal in June.


The grocery checked the shelves to see whether they had any more cereal produced around the same time, the store’s assistant manager said.


None was found, she said, and no other customers reported problems.


The family also called General Mills, which offered coupons, Everett said.


“I told the lady you can keep your coupon,” Everett said. “I’m not worried about the cost of the cereal.”


A General Mills representative also asked the family to mail in the cereal and needle, but the Joneses didn’t trust the company with their evidence, he said.


The Joneses wanted General Mills to alert other grocery stores in case other needles were out there, Everett said.


When General Mills didn’t cooperate, the Joneses reported the incident to the Janesville Police Department and Food and Drug Administration, Everett said.


General Mills said it had no reports of similar problems.


"It's unusual," spokesperson Kirstie Foster said. "We're working with the consumer to investigate."


The needle likely came from a machine along the cereal assembly line, Everett said. It doesn’t appear to be a hypodermic needle.


Despite previous false reports about tainted food products nationwide, the Joneses insist they’re telling the truth. The family has not called an attorney.


“There’s no lawsuit here,” Everett said. “We’re not doing that.”


Instead, the family wants the public to be aware of their story to avoid any injuries from other needles.


“Somebody could have swallowed the needle and got very hurt and had to get their stomach pumped,” Katy said.



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