Joseph Goldston unwrapped an Egg McMuffin from McDonald's and saw long, white things that were apparently baked into the dough.
He suspects they are worms.
Now, he wants some answers from McDonald's.
"It was truly disgusting," said Goldston, who lives in Chatham County.
Goldston stopped at the fast-food restaurant at 4413 Capital Blvd. last Monday and bought four Egg McMuffins. He went to work on Wade Avenue, ate one muffin and unwrapped another. That's when he noticed the strange substance.
"I've eaten at McDonald's plenty over the years," Goldston said. "I've never seen anything like that."
The other three muffins seemed normal, Goldston said. He said he sent McDonald's an e-mail that day and got a response saying the issue would be forwarded to the restaurant in question. Most McDonald's restaurants are franchises. Goldston also contacted The News & Observer.
Troubleshooter called Gaffney Gunter, director of operations for several Raleigh McDonald's restaurants, including the one where Goldston bought the sandwiches.
McDonald's doesn't bake its own muffins, Gunter said, so if something was baked into the dough, it didn't happen at the restaurant.
"This more likely happened at the manufacturer," said Gunter, who saw pictures of Goldston's questionable McMuffin.
But it's unclear where the muffin was baked. McDonald's does not always make public which food companies supply its restaurants, in order to keep a "competitive advantage," said Stephanie Niblack of McKeeman Communications Group, a Raleigh public relations firm hired by McDonald's.
After the muffins are made, they go through the Golden State Foods distribution center in Garner, Gunter said. From there, they are sent to local McDonald's restaurants.
When customers find foreign substances in their food, they should return the item to the restaurant where they bought it, Niblack said. Then the company might send the item to an insurance company or another third-party firm for lab testing.
Goldston said he didn't immediately return the breakfast sandwich to the restaurant because he was afraid no one would take his complaint seriously.
"To go back up there and give me a coupon or something and say 'I'm sorry,' - that's not enough," he said.
At least for now, though, that's what Goldston will settle for. He said Gunter offered to reimburse him the $4 and give him McDonald's coupons. Goldston agreed.
He said he wants McDonald's to test the sandwich. His wife suspects the objects are mealworms, which are the larva of mealworm beetles. Goldston said he has also considered that the substance could be hardened dough that wasn't baked into the muffin properly.
Goldston has agreed to let an insurance company run tests on the substance. But he wants to keep part of the muffin. He's considering hiring a company to do its own test.
If there are worms in the muffin, Goldston, said he wants McDonald's to publicly state that the company is ensuring quality control. He said he's not interested in pursuing a lawsuit right now.
"If they offered me some compensation for it, I certainly wouldn't turn it down, but I'm not going to go out there and hire a lawyer," Goldston said.
McDonald's has been sued before.
"A lot of times they see the golden arches as a dollar sign," Gunter said of some customers.
Niblack said that McDonald's takes all complaints seriously and that it's rare for an issue like Goldston's to arise. She said the restaurant where he bought the muffins has never had complaints about foreign substances in food.
Goldston said he mostly wants to know what he almost ate that morning.
"I've eaten McDonald's all my life," he said. "I don't know how soon I'll be going back."