Glass shards found in Kaiser soup

February 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Patients eating soup at Kaiser hospitals found something other than savory ingredients in their bowls ? there were pieces of glass. Kaiser will not say which of its hospitals were affected, but a South San Francisco commercial kitchen is taking full responsibility.

Patients at Kaiser Permanente certainly got more than they asked for in one of their meals. At least four patients found glass fragments in their chicken noodle soup. The shards were said to be about a half-inch thick.

"No one likes to know that you put your faith, especially in a health care system, to keep you well and that something could have gone wrong with the food that you're eating," said Kaiser member Christina McCauley.

The soup came from a South San Francisco facility. The company, FoodService Partners, says one of its cooks accidentally dropped a glass jar in a kettle where the soup in question was later prepared.

He was supposed to alert his supervisors immediately; instead, he took it upon himself to clean it.

"He didn't follow proper procedures and policies and guidelines in terms of cleaning that product or in terms of notifying management and supervisors," said president of FoodService Partners Bob Dunn.

So far, there have been no reports of any injuries. Kaiser said the risk of harm is extremely low, that such an object would typically pass through the body within a few days and without complications.

Still, in a written statement, Kaiser said, "We are contacting patients who ordered the soup that day to apologize, and as a precautionary measure, advise them of possible symptoms, and ask them to contact their physician if they have any questions."

Kaiser will not specify the hospitals where the patients discovered the glass. The HMO would only say none were in San Francisco.

As for FoodService Partners, it has since suspended the cook and is now retraining its employees.

The company says in its 11years, this was the first, and hopefully the last time, something like this has happened.

"We believe procedures are in place to ensure that an incident like this never happens again," said Dunn.