A Whangarei woman's chicken dinner has been ruined by an unexpected ingredient: a rusty nail.
Nadia Petersen bought a pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs from Regent Countdown on Wednesday. She seasoned and cooked the meat under the oven grill as normal, turning it over a few times but not noticing anything out of the ordinary.
But when she put the chicken on her plate and cut into it, ready to take a bite, she realised something was very wrong with her meal.
"I saw something poking out, so I pulled it out and it was a rusty nail," she told Newshub.
"I stared at it for a few seconds in disbelief, and then went outside and spat out my food and washed my mouth out."
Her first move was to call the local hospital to check she wasn't in danger from ingesting rust. Staff at the Poison Centre assured her she would probably be fine, but to watch out for vomiting over the next 24 hours.
Ms Petersen also called her mother, who rang Regent Countdown. She was unable to get through to the supermarket but ended up in contact with an Auckland branch, who called Ms Petersen back about 45 minutes later.
"They took down my details and offered me a refund for the chicken I bought and 200 points on my Onecard," she says.
"They apologised and that was about it. They didn't want to see the chicken or the nail, which I found quite strange. I thought they would want to investigate and make sure it was real.
"There was no explanation for where the nail had come from. They didn't seem particularly alarmed, but I was."
She kept the contaminated chicken just in case, which ended up coming in handy. The following morning she received a call from someone in a senior position at Countdown asking her to take the chicken and nail into the Regent supermarket.
"He said it seemed very unlikely because all their chicken goes through metal detectors, but as I told him it was definitely in the chicken, it hadn't fallen on it. It was inside the chicken and I was 100 percent sure before I made that accusation."
She says staff at the Regent supermarket have been "really great", apologising for her mother not being able to get through to them on Wednesday evening.
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"They were surprised at how little compensation I was given, and they themselves offered me a $50 voucher for Onecard and a big pack of chicken."
A Countdown spokesperson told Newshub the company is already investigating the incident, and will conduct further analysis on how the nail found its way into the chicken once it arrives
"We have a range of safety precautions and measures in place which can include metal detectors at points in the process and full traceability on all fresh meat."
Ms Petersen says she's surprised such contamination was allowed to happen in the wake of the strawberry needle scare. In September, pieces of sharp metal were found embedded in fruit in various stores across both Australia and New Zealand.