When Miami chef Jamie DeRosa opened a new, sealed box of Raisin Bran for his daughter Isabela's breakfast, he was surprised by what he saw. Instead of the usual golden flakes and raisins, there was a cornucopia of what looked to be rainbow loops, marshmallows, and corn flakes — everything but Raisin Bran.
Says DeRosa, who currently owns Izzy's Fish and Oyster in Fort Myers, "I'm thinking we scored the golden ticket. I thought of those cereal variety packs you bought as a kid and thought it was some surprise mystery box. Isabela and I thought it was genius."
DeRosa poured a generous helping of the cereal for his daughter when his wife, Amy, came home. "That's when it just went sideways." Amy noticed the cereal smelled stale and took a closer look. That's when DeRosa noticed what appeared to be webs on the side of the bag.
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The chef then poured the contents of the box into a larger bowl and noticed movement among the flakes. "I counted at least five of what look to be larvae of some kind."
Amy rushed their daughter, who has multiple food allergies, to the pediatrician while DeRosa called the Department of Health and Department of Food Safety. Although his daughter checked out fine, the chef's concern is that there might be more boxes like this out there.
DeRosa describes the hodgepodge of cereal in the box on his Facebook page as "Fruit Loops, random stale marshmallows, Frosted Corn Flakes, and a web from a Spider." He stresses that both the box and the inside packaging were completely sealed when he purchased it from Publix in Miami Shores. DeRosa speculates that some cross contamination might have happened during the time of packaging. "It literally looks like someone scooped cereal off the floor. That's my impression of what went wrong in the cereal factory."
New Times has calls in to both Kellogg's, the manufacturer of Raisin Bran, and Publix and will update this story with any further information.