File Photo: A McDonald's restaurant is seen in Tokyo November 29, 2008 (Photo: Reuters)
A human tooth was served with french fries at a McDonald's in Japan last year, reports said Wednesday, the latest in a series of recent woes involving contaminated nuggets and a chip shortage.
A customer complained to the Japanese arm of the fast food giant after finding a foreign body in a serving of potatoes from an outlet in Osaka, television networks said.
The item had apparently been deep fried.
Independent investigations ordered by McDonald's determined that it was a tooth, broadcasters said, citing the results of the probe. A statement from McDonald's given to the woman, obtained by a TV station, said the object was "believed to be a tooth".
"I received an apology only when the store manager came over," the customer, whose name was not revealed, told the JNN network. "The manager didn't really talk about how it got in and what action they will take in the future."
"I have a small child and it terrifies me to think that they could have eaten it and choked," she said.
The store manager who visited her said the tooth had been "fried", she reportedly said.
The Asahi network said it was not known how a tooth could have been mixed with the fries.
McDonald's said there were no employees missing a tooth at the outlet and it believed there was a very low possibility of contamination at the US factory that had shipped the chips, the network reported.
No one from McDonald's was immediately available for comment, although the company was expected to hold a press conference later Wednesday.
The incident is the latest public relations setback for the firm, which has seen its reputation suffer in Japan.
McDonald's has previously confirmed a customer found a piece of vinyl inside a chicken nugget sold by an outlet in the northern city of Misawa and that there was a similar case of contamination at a Tokyo branch.
Reports also said a tiny piece of plastic was found in a sundae in the northeastern city of Koriyama in December.
Those finds came after the burger giant was forced to switch nugget production to a Thai company in the wake of a food scare at one of its Chinese suppliers.
In July, Chinese officials shut food-supplier Shanghai Husi Food Co. following a television report alleging the plant mixed out-of-date meat with fresh product that was then supplied to McDonald's and other major fast food chains.
Late last year the company had to airlift an emergency supply of french fries from the US after a chip shortage had resulted in rationing at its 3,000 restaurants across the country.
Labour disputes on the US West Coast had hit exports, leaving Japanese firms scrambling to secure fresh supplies.