Family gets HIV testing after catheter found in ice cream tub

Three people in Quebec had already started eating the Coaticook brand ice cream when one of the guests found something hard in the ice cream he had just put in his mouth. He spit it out and saw it was a piece of a catheter.

Family members eating the ice cream will need to have blood tested for 6 months

Carole-Anne Christofferson said her family in Quebec was celebrating a new baby boy when the grandfather found something hard in his ice cream. (Radio-Canada)

A family gathering in Quebec to celebrate the arrival of a new baby boy suddenly turned sour this weekend when someone discovered a piece of a catheter inside ice cream.

Three people had already started eating the Coaticook brand ice cream flavoured with pecan nuts, chocolate and double caramel when one of the guests – the new grandfather – felt something hard in his mouth.

He spit it out and saw it was a piece of a catheter.

There was something dark on the tip and the family couldn't tell if it was caramel or blood.

"He put it in his mouth and found the tip of syringe," Carole-Anne Christofferson told Radio-Canada.  

"He's the worst off, the most affected. He's not even able to speak about it."

The ice cream had been bought at a grocery store in Trois-Rivières, Que.

HIV, hepatitis testing

After calling Quebec's health line, the family was told to go to a hospital for HIV testing, as well as for Hepatitis A, B and C.

They were told they would also need blood tests for the next six months.

Christofferson has already complained to the ice cream maker and isn't ruling out taking legal action.

Coaticook said it will be conducting an internal investigation into what happened.

The Trois-Rivières family hasn't ruled out taking legal action against the ice cream company after finding the catheter piece. (Submitted by the family)

Representatives for the ice cream producer say it's the first time the company has received such a complaint.

Based on the product's lot number, they know the exact date the ice cream was made and are checking surveillance video.

The company maintains it is safe to consume its products.

"We have so many internal controls here and in food production in general that having something like that show up in a food item, it's not normal," said Jean Provencher, the owner of Coaticook.

Representatives from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be at Coaticook on Tuesday to look into the incident.

HIV concern overblown, group says

Keith Monteith, executive director of COCQ-SIDA, a network of AIDS-focused community organizations in Quebec, said it's "highly unlikely" that someone could contract HIV this way.

"The HIV virus is quite fragile and we're talking about something that was frozen," he said.  

"I certainly hope that those people who found it are not losing sleep thinking that they've contracted HIV." 

With files from Radio-Canada's Maude Montembeault