SIOUX CITY — Two days after a customer found a mouse in his burrito at a Jim's Burgers location, the Sioux City eatery said Friday the incident is still "bewildering" to understand, given its tight food preparation process.
"We are still confused on how this could have happened," Jim's Burgers spokesman David Cruz said in a statement.
After the customer reported the mouse at the 2500 Gordon Drive location Wednesday, restaurant employees examined it, Cruz said. The rodent did not show burn marks, as would have been the case if cooked, or cut marks. He said all employees involved in the line were questioned on their preparations, which includes burritos being warmed, meat added by tongs, other ingredients added by spoon and packaging into a paper wrapper.
"With a mouse that size, it is incredibly unlikely that the cook would not notice it...We did not find anything even remotely close to suggesting as to how the mouse could have gotten inside," Cruz said.
Cruz said the customer was given an apology and a refund.
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The customer also reported the mouse to the Siouxland District Health Department, which sent inspectors to Jim's Burgers. The restaurant agreed to voluntarily close for deep cleaning, discarding any potentially contaminated food and pest control efforts.
Inspectors returned to the restaurant to ensure that all public health recommendations associated with the complaint had been implemented. Brock said the restaurant "cooperated fully" and was free to reopen to the public. The Gordon Drive location has since reopened.
Tyler Brock, the health department's deputy director, said Thursday inspectors could not confirm, with absolute certainty, the mouse was actually in the burrito.
A Facebook post of a photo showing the mouse on the customer's plate quickly went viral, prompting social media users from across the country to weigh in on the controversy.
"We are going through a turbulent time. We are a small, family-run business, and this takes a toll. We have seen everything from racist comments, prejudgments and wild rumors. However, we have also seen loyal customers defend us and local businesses show support," Cruz said.
He said cameras are going to be placed at the food prep area and dining area, to give ongoing video surveillance.
Jim's Burgers has several other locations in the Sioux City metro, as well as in some surrounding cities.