TOMBALL, Texas – A Tomball couple eating their Tuesday night dinner while watching their favorite show was stunned when one of them chomped on a screw in their takeout.
Desiree Amstutz was sitting next to her fiancé, Cameron, when she recalled hearing a loud noise as he was chewing.
“I thought it was maybe like a hard piece of steak, which whatever. He pulled it out and it was a screw,” Amstutz said. “It was so loud. It didn’t sound right, and it sounded like it hurt a little bit. I looked at him to make sure he [was] okay. He pulls it out of his mouth, and it was a screw.”
Amstutz told KPRC 2′s Rilwan Balogun the two sat in disbelief and silence for a bit then tried calling the Chipotle store on FM-2920. When their calls went unanswered, they visited the store to speak with a manager.
They didn’t get the response they wanted.
“He had the kind of attitude like, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I don’t know what I can do for you.’ Like as if we went in there to tell him just because. We went in there because we wanted him to know - be aware of it and hopefully fix the problem that way a screw doesn’t end up in someone else’s food.”
Chipotle did reach out to Amstutz to give them a full refund and offer to assist with any medical bills.
“We definitely don’t need the $35 that we were refunded,” she said. “My purpose is to have Chipotle held accountable. We will probably still eat their food, maybe not that location. We will go to a different one.”
Vetting Amstutz’s Claims
Amstutz reached out to KPRC 2 Thursday morning. Reporter Rilwan Balogun called Amstutz to try to get more information to verify her claims.
She shared with KPRC 2 a screenshot of her Chipotle order and timestamped dash camera footage showing the couple visiting the FM 2920 fast food restaurant. Amstutz also forwarded her formal complaint to Harris County Public Health.
KPRC 2 reached out to Chipotle corporate for a response. They didn’t share more about their investigation but said they were aware of the claim and did reach out to Amstutz.
“They said it was completely unacceptable how the manager handled that situation,” Amstutz said. “The first thing he said when he called me was that he’s calling me because KPRC had reached out to him and it brought everything to his attention.”
Amstutz said the Chipotle representative said the manager she spoke with should have written an incident report that would have notified corporate officials.
She had the couple’s $35 meal refunded. The representative said Chipotle’s insurance officials would follow up with the couple in the coming days after her fiancé visits the doctor.
KPRC 2 reached out to Harris County Public Health, who confirmed they did inspect the entire facility Thursday afternoon.
Public Health’s Inspection
The Harris County Public Health Department’s Director of Environmental Public Health, which oversees food inspections, said they received the complaint Thursday morning.
“In this case, the complaint was that this individual found a screw in their food,” Scott Jeansonne said. “We go and do a full-on investigation inspection of the entire facility just like we would with one of our routine inspections, but we will ask specific questions or look into specific issues that may have caused whatever the complaint is.”
Jeansonne said they focus on two types of complaints: foodborne illness and food complaints.
Amstutz’s complaint is considered to be a food complaint.
“If we can actually confirm the actual source of the foreign object, say for example, you say like a screw is missing from a piece of machinery, and what we would do is, we would red tag that machine and we’ll note it in our inspection report,” Jeansonne explained. “That machine gets red tagged and it basically is taken out of commission until repairs are made. The repairs are made they call us up, we go back we verify [that] proper repairs have been made.”
As the department does its inspection, the restaurant remains open.
Jeansonne said it’s unclear if the specific Chipotle had prior complaints.
Chipotle’s Response to KPRC 2
“Thank you for reaching out. Our team has been in touch with this guest directly to investigate the claim.”