Lizard head found in Applebee’s salad
A Coralville restaurant is being investigated by the county for animal parts found in a salad May 2.
This lizard head, just more than an inch long, was found in an Applebee’s salad. Special to the Press-Citizen
The Johnson County Public Health Department received two complaints from customers, director Ralph Wilmoth said. He declined to name the business, but Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, which owns a restaurant at 200 12th Ave., issued a statement Friday about the incident - acknowledging the animal was a lizard.
Wilmoth said the business has cooperated fully and there is no public health risk. He said he expects the county's investigation to be completed by the beginning of next week.
Dave Phillips at Kansas-based Apple Corp, L.P., the franchise that owns the restaurant, released the following statement:
"Based on our initial investigation, we believe that somehow a small 'fence lizard' managed to deeply imbed itself in a head of lettuce delivered to our restaurant from California. The associate who prepared the lettuce did not notice this highly unusual situation.
"We regret this and apologize to the affected guests."
The woman who ordered the small Santa Fe Chicken salad to go said Friday she does not want to be identified. She is not pursuing legal action.
Though an isolated incident, Applebee's has discontinued use of lettuce heads and instead is using pre-cut and pre-cleaned lettuce for salads. All lettuce in the affected shipment was thrown out.
Applebee's statement went on to say the incident is uncharacteristic for its Coralville restaurant, which has "an excellent track record in health inspections." Apple Corps. also has given the location top scores for cleanliness.