December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Family stumped by needle in cake snack

GRAFTON — A 10-year-old Midview student says he bit into a Little Debbie cake and found a sewing needle.

The boy was eating lunch with other students at Midview North Elementary School on Sept. 26 when he bit into the Little Debbie Zebra Cake and realized there was more than just the filling inside.

“He was sitting there and laughing and said, ‘(The sewing needle) was in my Little Debbie,’ ” said Midview North Principal Audrey Fountain. “I wouldn’t say he was scared. He was surprised.”

The boy was uninjured and remained at school the rest of the day. Police were not called.

Fountain said she contacted his parents immediately, who in-turn contacted the consumer affairs division of McKee Foods Corp. — producer of Little Debbie snack cakes.

A representative from the company arrived at the school and confiscated the cake and the needle.

Mike Gloekler, a spokesman for McKee Foods, said the plant that manufactures the cakes is equipped with highly sensitive metal detectors that scan the product once after its initial packaging and another time after the cakes are sealed in a box.

“We have very strict guidelines to what people can bring in the factory,” he said. “I can’t even wear my wedding ring inside."

Gloekler said the company is still looking into how the sewing needle, which measured just more than an inch long, made its way into the snack cake.

The boy’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous, said that while she had concerns of whether or not the needle had been contaminated, she considered the situation a “prank.”

“I don’t have any idea where it happened,” she said.

The boy does have siblings at home, she said, but the needle found was not the same type of sewing needles she keeps at the home.

Fountain said student-brought lunches are kept in their lockers prior to lunch and that there was no way the needle could have been put into the cake during school. There have been no other instances at the school, she said.

The mother said she purchased the cakes at an area store before packing them into her son’s lunch.

The boy’s father, who also wanted his name withheld, said his son has had three blood tests with negative results, and he doubts his son was responsible for the needle in the cake.

“Just from me talking to him, I can see in his eyes that he’s concerned about it,” he said. “He’s just a little freaked out.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.