A long-distance trucker from Howden is suing Coca-Cola after he almost swallowed a decomposed mouse from a bottle of premium orange juice owned by the famed cola maker.
Hamid Shahinfar, 55, was going on a job to Laredo, Texas two years ago and took with him a bottle of Simply Orange, purchased at a Safeway store in Winnipeg. In court documents filed recently at Queen’s Bench, Shahinfar said he had almost finished the bottle on the second day of his trip when something large and soft went into his mouth. He spat it out and saw that it was a furry piece of skin about the size of a large coin.
"Upon discovery of this disgusting substance in his (drink), (Shahinfar) immediately began to throw up and (later)…. began to have a sore stomach, cramping, chills, cold sweats, sinus congestion (and) headaches," states one of the documents included in the court file.
"He’s always hated mice and for him to get this mouse in his mouth, it was just totally, really the grossest thing," Kathleen Shahinfar, Hamid’s wife said. "He doesn’t know how much he actually chewed or swallowed."
Kathleen Shahinfar said she bought the juice for her husband, adding he always liked it extra pulpy.
"So, when he felt it in his mouth, he first thought it was pulp but when he bit into it and chewed it, he realized it wasn’t pulp," she said. "He saw what it was — a piece of a mouse, flesh and fur, a loonie- or toonie-sized piece of mouse."
Shahinfar placed the substance back into the bottle and into his rig’s fridge and later had it tested at a laboratory here in Winnipeg, which concluded it, "to be a piece of rodent’s skin with fur and flesh (possibly a mouse)."
Shahinfar states he had fallen into such a mental state that he needed to see a psychologist, who diagnosed him with an adjustment disorder and now has a phobic reaction to orange juice and "to any liquid in any container that he cannot see through clearly."
Shahinfar alleges that as a result of Coca-Cola’s negligence, he was unable to work for a period of time, lost income and future earnings, and is unable to enjoy life as he once had done. He is seeking unspecified damages.
In addition to Coca-Cola Ltd., Shahinfar is suing the distributor of Simply Orange, and the bottle manufacturer.
The allegations have not been proven in court. Statements of defence have not been filed. A court date has not been set.
Howden is located just south of St. Norbert.
Coca-Cola describes Simply Orange as a premium, gently pasteurized, not from concentrate, 100 per cent orange juice. The orange juice company was founded in 2001 and is one of many drinks in the Coca-Cola stable of brands.
"It used to be my favourite brand of orange juice, but not any more," Kathleen Shahinfar said.
Coca-Cola spokeswoman Shannon Denny said that the company would not comment on the lawsuit but would take all necessary steps to "vigorously defend against this allegation." Denny said that product quality and safety are of the utmost importance to Coca-Cola and the company, "applies rigorous screening procedures throughout the production process of all our beverages."