A Wisconsin teen alleges that she found blood in her Panera salad, according to a report from WISN.
The outlet reports that Sarah Wehse was dining at a Panera location in Waukesha, Wisconsin when her sister noticed blood in the salad she was eating, a Fuji Apple Salad with chicken.
“My sister told me, ‘Oh my God, I think that’s blood,'” Sarah told the outlet. “I turned the bowl around and there’s already blood pooling on the plate, it’s on the side of the bowl. I don’t know how the server didn’t see it when she was giving it to us.”
According to Sarah and her sister Rachel’s account, a Panera employee at first insisted that the liquid was salad dressing.
“I’ve never had a salad from Panera that has bright red dressing like that,” Rachel told WISN.
The sisters said that they were then given a new salad, but they found blood in that one as well. “I took it up [to the counter], I had the lettuce in my hand and was like, ‘It’s on here again, this has to be blood, it cannot be dressing, how does that happen twice?'” Rachel said. “Again, they tried convincing me it was dressing, not to worry about it, but then the manager came up and gave us a refund.”
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Eventually, Rachel said, the manager of the Panera location said that one of the employees had accidentally cut themselves through their glove and unknowingly bled on the salads. “I was traumatized, I was crying and I tried to hold myself together,” Sarah told WISN. “I’ve never had something like that happen to me before and I was scared I was exposed to something.”
According to WISN, Panera tested the employee in question’s blood for HIV and hepatitis after the alleged incident, and both tests came back negative.
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The Waukesha County Public Health Department told the outlet that they investigated the incident, and that this is the first issue that they have had with that Panera location. The department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In a statement to PEOPLE, Panera Bread said: “We strive to create a safe and healthy experience for our guests, but this incident fell far short of that. It’s an unacceptable occurrence and we take full responsibility. We’re working with the café to ensure something like this never happens again.”