It's a fast food nightmare that sounds too horrific to be true: a San Antonio woman ordered rice and beans at her local Popeyes, but, unbeknownst to her at the time, her meal allegedly came with a side of flesh-eating worms.
Karen Goode filed a lawsuit against Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen earlier this week, claiming that red beans and rice that she was served at the restaurant contained flesh-eating screwworms, My San Antonio reports. According to Goode, she ingested the tainted food back in 2015, at which point the screwworms entered her digestive tract and laid eggs that embedded themselves in the interior lining of her small intestine. The eggs then hatched, at which point Goode claims they began to eat her "alive from the inside out."
In an interview with The Washington Post, Goode's attorney, Patrick Stolmeier, called it a "pretty horrible situation," and claims that his client has been losing massive amounts of blood and tissue because the worms have been "eating themselves out of her body."
Sounds too gross to be true? It might be, according to scientists.
"Nothing about this, biologically, is sound," Gwen Pearson, educational outreach coordinator for the Purdue Department of Entomology, told The Washington Post. Pearson stated that it's impossible for screwworms to have survived the cooking process, and if by chance they had, the acid in her stomach would have killed them.
"There are no insects that you could eat alive that would then set up shop in your body," she told The Post.
Nevertheless, Goode is seeking more than $1 million in damages. Renee Kopowski, a spokesperson for Popeyes, says that they've worked with outside parties who have found Goode's claims to be "unfounded and false." She went on to say that the company has been working with Goode for over a year to address her concerns, telling My Antonio, "We put every precaution in place in the restaurants to meet the highest food safety standards. We take it extremely serious when a guest complains."