On Tuesday morning, the menu for Muskogee High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma gave students a choice between a “Rougher Muffin” or cereal and apricots. That seems fine, assuming that the Rougher Muffin is named for the school’s mascot—an aggressive, steroidal bulldog—and not for its texture going in or out of your body. But one student would like to know why he also received an à la carte selection of baby spiders, which were crawling all over his tray, into his cereal bowl, and probably into his mouth.
Gatlan Morris, a sophomore at the school, told KJRH that he’d already had a few spoonfuls of cereal and was peeling his banana when he noticed that there was a problematic number of arachnids creeping across breakfast. (Note: One arachnid in your cereal bowl is a problematic number of arachnids.)
“I was freaked out. I thought it was really gross,” he told the news station. “I looked over around my tray and I seen, like, a group of spiders and I looked in my cereal and they were in my cereal. So I’ve digested spiders.”
Morris’ friend, Kristen Oliver, posted the spiders to Snapchat—no filter needed—before the pair of students tried to get the cafeteria workers to express concern about the insects. “They didn’t seem like they wanted to do anything about it except offer another tray,” she said. “But if there’s bugs in the first one, why would we want another one?” You can watch the very unappetizing video that Oliver posted to Snapchat here.
Kim Hall, the Food Service Director for the Muskogee Public School system, told the station that the cafeteria manager apologized to Morris for making him lose his appetite. “This was an isolated incident,” she said. “It’s produce. Unfortunately, I have no control over Mother Nature.”
When reached for comment by MUNCHIES, Hall added: "These bananas came from Guatemala and we've never had an issue such as this occur in the 25 years that I have been in food service. Our distributor also indicated that he has never had an issue with spiders prior to this case.
"After researching the issue of spiders being delivered with bananas, we are modifying the washing process to include a scan for a web sack on bananas,” she added. “Our intention as food servers is provide students with an appealing and enjoyable meal made from the very best quality products."
Finding a baby spider or ten in your banana is reasonably rare, and, chances are, those little guys are harmless. Rick Vetter, an arachnologist, spent almost a decade studying the spiders that were found hitchhiking in fruit that was shipped from South America to the United States. He found a total of 135 spiders, and only identified seven of them as being the most troublesome species, i.e., the highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider. (If you’ve read the words ‘spider,’ ‘banana’ and ‘deadly’ in the same headline—especially one about homes being evacuated or people freaking out—it probably involved wandering spiders.)
“In the last few years, there have been more incidences of egg sacs found on bananas brought into North America. Most of these are crushed during shipment but on occasion a few survive transport and babies can hatch out of them, causing panic,” Vetter wrote. “But the overall message here is that the egg sacs that have been coming through in bananas do not appear to be anything dangerous.”
Back at Muskogee High School, Morris and Oliver just want to be reassured that it’s not going to happen again. “The food that we’re eating is supposed to be good, you know?” Oliver said. “How are we supposed to, like, be OK and make it through the school day if we can’t eat a good breakfast without spiders and stuff in it?”
According to the Muskogee school menu, Wednesday’s breakfast was supposed to be banana bread. Hard pass on that one, Roughers. Hard. Pass.