An Orange County man is suing Heineken, saying he found two dead leopard geckos floating in his beer can after he noticed a foul taste.
In his Orange County Superior Court lawsuit, George Toubbeh says he suffered abdominal pain and vomited in August 2015 after drinking from a 24-ounce Heineken he had purchased from a Ralphs in Fountain Valley. The suit also names The Kroger Co., which owns the Ralphs grocery chain.
His daughter later examined the beer can and found two juvenile leopard geckos inside, according to the lawsuit. Leopard geckos are native to Asia and commonly sold as pets.
“When discovered, the geckos had not been decomposed at all and were likely alive when the beer was poured and sealed into the cans in the bottling and/or canning facility,” the lawsuit says.
Toubbeh became violently ill and went to the emergency room at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, says the lawsuit, filed last week. It says he continued to suffer from severe gastrointestinal ailments, emotional distress, anxiety and trauma and missed several weeks of work.
Heineken says the accusations are false.
“Heineken USA holds the safety and integrity of the products we import to the highest standards,” spokeswoman Tara Rush says in a statement to the Register. “We have investigated this isolated claim, and based on a number of factors, we confidently believe there is no merit to this claim.”
Toubbeh’s attorney, John Montevideo, said the family brought the can with the geckos inside to his law office shortly after the incident.
The lawyer had a zoologist and a lab perform examinations, he said, in part to determine the breed and how decomposed the lizards were.
“We truly believe that he is credible, and we have done the independent investigation to verify what they were and their condition,” he said. “We feel confident that this is a viable and a real issue.”
Toubbeh is seeking an unspecified amount in damages.