What can I do about finding glass in a food product?

Full Question:

I purchased a pizza from 711 last night by a well known company, I got home and cooked it right away. The second bite chipped my tooth, the piece I pulled out of my tooth was glass. I contacted the company and saved the box and glass. The person I spoke with said they would send a overnight box to receive the object for inspection. I was asked what I would like for compensation and that she could not offer a dollar amount because she did not want to insult me. I responded with I was not sure what action I was willing to take yet, so I did not give a number. I said I just want to make sure this does not happen again. What if my 4 yr old ate the glass or what if I swallowed some, I might have. My question is, should I talk to a lawyer? Should I shoot for a high number and see what they say? Should I send them the product and box or should I worry about them being dishonest and loosing the evidence... What can and should I do ?
10/14/2010   |   Category: Personal Injury   |   State: Texas   |   #23394

Answer:

We cannot give legal advice. The following is not a substitute for the advice of a local attorney. But we hope the information will be useful.

I once had a similar situation. I prepared some rice from a box, a well known company, and when I ate it I bit down on a piece of glass the size of a quarter. Thankfully I was not injured. I probably should have called the company, so that they could recall that lot of boxes, or whatever they do. Obviously something glass was broken in that giant vat in their factory. You are in a similar situation.

You have basically done them a service by alerting them to the problem. For that, they seem willing to compensate you. You were not injured, so you suffered no "damages." This is important when considering a lawsuit. You must be damaged in order to make a recovery. So there is no point in suing them, or asking for a large $ award. There is also the issue of proof - you would have to spend lots of money on experts to prove the glass was in the box, which they could deny. It would be hard to prove. But even if you proved it, you have no damages, so they wouldn't owe you anything.

You could do something like this: Ask their representative to send you a check for $500.00 (or whatever you think, I don't know what a company would be willing to pay), along with a signed statement that they will recall the lot. See how they respond to that. They may want you to send the box and glass first, but you should probably refuse to do that. Tell them to send you a package containing a smaller envelope to ship them the box/glass in, your reward check, and the signed statement. If they refuse, say, "well, you know what, I think I will just contact my local TV station news in order to get the word out that your product is unsafe." Then see if they change their tune. Give them a deadline (7 days?) by which you must receive the package from them, or else you are going to the news. They may threaten you with legal action, claiming you are faking. They would have to spend lots of money on lawyers to do this however, so asking for a small amount of money is probably your best option - it is less than what they'd have to pay their lawyers to sue you. If they threaten you, you will either want to cave in, or go talk to a local trial lawyer. You could potentially cause yourself a lot of trouble if you get in a court fight with them.

There is a link here, with similar information:

http://product-liability.lawyers.com/You-Found-a-What-in-Your-Food.html