Woman suing Popeyes says flesh-eating worms ate her ‘from the inside out’

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SAN ANTONIO -- A Texas woman has a bone to pick with Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

Karen Goode of San Antonio is suing for $1 million after she said rice and beans she ate at Popeyes in spring 2015 were infested with flesh-eating worms, according to KDAF.

In the lawsuit filed in Bexar County, Goode's attorney, Patrick Stolmeier, argues the franchisee, Z&H Foods, should have known about the screwworms and never served the tainted food to customers.

"Plaintiff purchased rice and beans from Defendants' restaurant that contained flesh eating New World Screwworms, and Plaintiff unknowingly ingested the flesh eating screwworms," according to the lawsuit.

"The flesh eating screwworms entered Plaintiff's digestive track, laid eggs which embedded in the interior lining of Plaintiff's small intestine, and when hatched, infested Plaintiff's body and began to eat Plaintiff alive from the inside-out."

Screwworms are maggots that infest livestock and other warm-blooded animals, including humans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"After eggs hatch, larvae burrow and feed on flesh, causing severe tissue damage and may even be lethal to the host," according to the USDA website.

Goode survived, but Stolmeier said she became so ill that she lost her business, house and cars.  According to the lawsuit, Goode has been ravaged by E. coli and helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.

She also suffered injuries to her neck, digestive tract, shoulders and arm, and had to endure anxiety, pain, anguish and fear, Stolmeier said.

“We don’t discuss details of litigation, but we can tell you that we understand that, while investigating this matter, the franchisee has worked with outside parties who have found the claims to be unfounded and false," Popeyes spokeswoman Renee Kopkowski said in a statement to the Washington Post.

"We can also assure you that the side dishes at this local Popeyes and all Popeyes restaurants have a strict standard and are cooked and maintained at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature that would make it impossible for bacteria or other foreign matter to survive the cooking process."

Kopkowski added that Popeyes makes food safety its top priority “and we put the safety and welfare of our guests first, so we will continue to investigate this matter.”

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