Green bean rat casserole

Green bean casserole is one of my favorite dishes.  Lots of people serve it as a side dish, but it always ends up being the main course for me.  It’s a typical staple at our family Thanksgiving dinners, so much so that I decided to bring my own GB casserole to Doug’s Canadian Thanksgiving.  I’ve never had any food safety problems (that I know of) with my casseroles, but unfortunately a woman in Utah had quite a nasty surprise when she went to make her GB casserole.  A dead rat head in the green beans ruined a Super Bowl green bean casserole in Texas.  Even more disturbingly, the company that produced the green beans is a repeat offender.  A can of Allen’s Italian Green Beans was found to contain a rat head back in June, along with another report in 2007 from Utah.

But don’t worry about the rat head.  It’s “commercially sterile.”  Though high temperatures for cooking (265 degrees) ensure that the product is free from bacteria, the appearance of rat heads in a vegetable product is unsettling for most consumers.  The fact that there have been three reports of rat heads in this particular brand of green beans should cause a big blip to appear in anyone’s food safety radar.

Unless Allen’s Canned Vegetables wants to start listing “dead rat” on it’s ingredient list, a thorough cleaning and inspection of the packing facility is in order.


The year of the rat — tastes like chicken (or better)

The Chinese Year of the Rat begins tomorrow.

And rice farmers are rejoicing, eating the rodent that is damaging crops.

In Thailand, BBC News reports that fast food sellers are enjoying a boom in rat sales, as people learn to love the taste of the rodent.

The rats are drowned and sold uncooked or ready to eat, with happy customers purchasing rat meat for as much as 150 baht ($4.82; £2.30) a kilogram.

One customer was quoted as telling AP,

"It’s better than chicken."

One rat seller, Sala Prompim, said that the hip and liver were the best cuts, adding,

"It’s tastier than other meats – nothing can compete with rat."

Mr Prompim said he only used rats caught from rice fields, and not those found in towns or cities because,

"They are definitely clean."

The Wall Street Journal reports that due to bird flu, field rats have become a popular food in Vietnam.

The story says that in Tu Son, a small village sitting near the banks of the Red River, rat hunter Ngo Minh Tam reckons,

"99%" of the people regularly dine on rat meat."

Rat-based cuisine is beginning to catch on in the big cities as well. Handwritten signs in some of the backstreets of Hanoi offer cash in return for freshly caught rat.