Rice and beans with added flesh-eating screwworms are what one Texas woman got when she ordered the common side dish at popular fast-food chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Karen Goode, of San Antonio, is now suing the restaurant chain and its local franchisee for $1 million in damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Feeding on her insides

The lawsuit, filed last week in Bexar County district court, claims Ms.

Goode was served a meal from a local popeyes restaurant that was contaminated with flesh-eating insects known as New World screwworms. After unknowingly consuming the scavenging bugs, they laid eggs in the lining of Ms. Goodes' small intestines. Once the eggs hatched, the carnivorous creatures “infested” her body and started feeding on her “from the inside-out,” according to the 10-page lawsuit.

Popeyes knew about the flesh-eating worm

Goode’s attorney, Patrick Stolmeier, said his client lost significant “amounts of blood and tissue” as the insects grew inside her.

Goode and her attorney contend local Popeye franchisee Z&H Foods were aware of the parasite contamination before she ate there in spring 2015. Stolmeier argues employees at the restaurant were not trained to effectively inspect, remove, and recall any potentially tainted food. He also contends that the workers disregarded safety protocol, likely knew the flesh-eating bugs were in the food, and ignored the risk of injury to Ms. Goode.

Health and financial loss

The body invasion caused an E.coli infection and peptic ulcers. Ms. Goode had to have surgery and one of her arms is partially paralyzed. She also suffered the loss of her business, her home, and vehicles. Now, she is trying to heal and get her life back together since the horrible ordeal.

Parasite infestation not possible?

Popeyes has publicly responded to the lawsuit, saying Ms.

Goodes’ claim is “unfounded and false.” They are working closely with the franchisee to investigate the matter and maintain that all Popeyes’ restaurants adhere to stringent food safety procedures “that would make it impossible” for the parasite to live through the cooking process.

An unlikely, but deadly occurrence

In the 1950s, the U.S. government created a radical birth control program to destroy the screwworm population nationwide.

The program worked, and by the 1960s, the parasite had vanished from the country. However, screwworms were discovered in deer from National Key Deer Refuge in Florida last year. While humans are very rarely affected by screwworms, they will cause death if left untreated.

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