When George Toubbeh began drinking the 24-oz can of Heineken he’d bought at Ralph’s Grocery in Fountain Valley, California, he could tells something was amiss. The beer had a “foul taste,” reminiscent of Heineken, but not quite right; nonetheless, he downed it. Then came the vomiting and abdominal pain. Then he noticed the juvenile leopard geckos.
According to a lawsuit filed last week in Orange County Superior Court, Toubbeh is suing Heineken and the Kroger Co. (which owns Ralph’s), seeking unspecific damages, medical expenses and loss of earnings associated with the violent illness and PTSD he claims to have suffered after consuming a beer in August 2015, and realizing too late that there were dead geckos at the bottom of it. Technically, his daughter pointed them out.
Heineken denied fucking up, releasing a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle that reads, “Heineken USA holds the safety and integrity of the products we import to then higher standards. We have investigated this isolated claim and based on a number of factors we confidently believe there is no merit to this claim.”
It gets worse (I think?), according to the complaint, “When discovered, the geckos had not been decomposed at all and were likely alive when the beer was poured and sealed into the cans in the bottling and/or canning facility.” It’s outrageous and sick that the small lizards were not allowed to decompose completely inside the can before it was shelved, which is absolutely what I expect to be getting when I purchase some cans of Heineken.