Be careful if you're going to a barbecue this weekend.
Authorities investigating the case of a "rotting" human finger found in a hamburger say that a worker in the factory where the burger was made had lost two fingers in an industrial accident – and they can’t trace the second finger.
The mystery began when a woman named Estefany Benitez bit into a burger from a fast-food chain in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Ms Benitez told local media that, after taking a few bites, she felt something unexpectedly hard in her mouth. When she spat it out she realised to her disgust that it had been a human finger.
She reported the incident to local police, who confirmed that the foreign object was indeed a "rotting" finger.
The burger joint temporarily closed while the matter was investigated.
Inquiries revealed that a worker at the burger factory had trapped their hand in a meat grinder on the previous Friday, and had lost two fingers.
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"Everything points to the fact that the worker who was operating that meat grinding machine possibly lost two fingers,” said Jorge Silva, Bolivia’s Deputy Minister of Consumer Defence.
“One of them would have appeared in a hamburger and it is not known what happened to the other”.
He added that it was possible that parts of the second finger could have found their way into burgers sent to other branches of the “Hot Burger” fast food chain.
A company spokesperson said that because of the "chance incident" involving one of its employees, its emergency procedures were activated, prioritising the health of the worker, who is currently recovering.
They added that the company had initiated an internal investigation to determine how "a foreign element" arrived at one of its branches, while they are collaborating with the authorities, and said that the injured employee was already “in recovery”.
Minister Silva said that he didn’t rule out ordering the closure of other branches of the chain.
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