Paris woman says she found insects on chicken

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Deena Tracy of Paris said she found maggots in a bucket of chicken, two hours after buying it from the Oxford Walmart deli, and after she and her 4-year-old daughter, Ellie, had eaten some of it.

PARIS — Deena Tracy said Wednesday she hadn't eaten in almost a day.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

An egg deposit that will hatch into maggots is attached to a piece of General Tso's chicken from Walmart. 

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

An egg deposit that will hatch into maggots is attached to a piece of General Tso's chicken from Walmart.

A day earlier, she caused a minor online sensation by posting a video on Facebook showing, she said, a bucket of maggot-infested takeout chicken purchased at Walmart in Oxford.

On Tuesday morning, while running errands at Walmart, Tracy said she got a bucket of fried chicken from the deli. She picked out popcorn chicken and fried wings for her daughters, and General Tso's chicken for herself.

At the store, a clerk filled an empty bucket with chicken stored in heating pans and printed out a sell-by date of Aug. 28, showing a purchase at 10:50 a.m. Her store receipt confirmed the purchase. 

She said she put the bucket between the seats of her vehicle and ate eight or nine pieces on the way home, not looking closely at her food while she drove. She stopped at Moore Park on Route 26 in Paris for about half an hour so her daughter could play and said she kept the bucket closed at the time.

She got home, grabbed a fork and was about to take another bite of the General Tso's when she saw something tiny and white in the sauce on the top piece, she said. Then it moved. There were other insects climbing the side of the bucket, and many more in the chicken below.

She identified them as maggots.

“It's halfway in the bucket,” she said Wednesday. “I had to eat halfway through the bucket before I'd even seen it.”

“You could see one that was poking its head off the piece of chicken,” she said.

She told her daughter to drop a piece she'd just picked up.

She called her mother in shock.

“I said, 'you've got to see this. It's so disgusting,'” Tracy said. She took an angry, profanity-filled video with her cellphone and posted it on Facebook so her mother and friends could see for themselves. That was Tuesday afternoon. A day later, more than 4,000 people had shared it.

A manager at the Oxford Walmart declined to comment Wednesday morning.

Tracy said she called Walmart and was told they would refund her $12. She said she was told the chicken was cooked fresh every day. The manager suggested that the maggots may have entered the chicken at Moore Park, but Tracy said she kept the plastic shopping bag tied closed when she was there.

She said she wanted more than a refund. She wanted them to find out how it could have happened.

“I would have been a little more satisfied if she said, 'We'll look into this matter and we'll go down there and check it out,'” Tracy said.

Tracy said she's contacted an attorney but hasn't heard back yet. She said she isn't sure if there's anything she can sue over. She said she's saving the bucket in a tied-shut bag in her refrigerator for now.

According to Tracy, she's been a loyal Walmart shopper for years. She even worked as a cashier there eight years ago. She gets chicken there all the time. Not anymore, she said.

Jeanne Curran, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Agriculture, said the department has received a complaint from Tracy and has assigned a consumer protection inspector from the Division of Quality Assurance and Regulations to the case. She said the Oxford Walmart is inspected yearly and a records check of the last two years found no complaints for the store.

Curran said the department expects the inspection to take a few days. If violations are found, they will be forwarded to the Attorney General's Office. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Curran said she hadn't heard back from the inspector.

The Department of Agriculture oversees food safety at many Maine stores, including the Oxford Walmart.

Walmart spokeswoman Kayla Whaling said Walmart immediately began looking into the report Wednesday, sending a third-party pest management company to the store. They found “no cause for concern,” Whaling said.

“We're absolutely committed to offering our customers safe, quality food,” Whaling said. “We're working to investigate all aspects of this allegation.”

She said chicken comes to Walmart stores frozen. It's removed from the freezer, cooked, then put out in heated pans where it's sold to customers. The store routinely throws away cooked food that hasn't been bought, she said. “We believe it's unlikely for this to happen.”

Tracy, 30, lives in Paris with her husband, Matthew, and two daughters. She recently posted a request on the fundraising website for $1,200 to take her family to Florida on vacation and to pay for propane while they're away.

An online search found instances of her requesting donations and suggesting deals to friends. A check of court records in Oxford County show no civil suits or consumer actions filed by Tracy in district or superior courts.

Tracy said she canceled that vacation a while back and said she wasn't out for money when she shared the video on Facebook. “I just want to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone else.”

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 's picture

Just wondering

Hey, I was just wondering how she got those live squirming maggots in a what looks like a mini log pile. check it out

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

This story adds a whole new

This story adds a whole new dimension to the line, "Having one's chicken on the fly".

DAVID BURKE's picture


I didn't see in the article where it said that the chicken was fried. It only says it was re-heated, then placed in warming trays.

Darlene V. Thomas's picture


As Judge Judy says, when something doesn't make sense, it's probably not true. Those are some strong maggots, to survive the 500+ degree oil the chicken was cooked in, and as others have said, why no sauce on the little guy??? There are also just too many details on her part, as far as what she did, before and after buying the *infested* cluckers! As for other comments I've read on here, all businesses, stores, and restaurants, go into CLEANING mode, when they know they have an inspection coming....DUH!!! Wouldn't you? Everyone wants to pass...and for the fruit flies, on the fruit? Again...DUH!!! The fruit comes from everywhere, in state, out of state, sometimes out of the country...Do you think the sellers, or Walmart wash the fruit before selling it? Do you think your local veggie stands wash the fruit and veggies before you buy it? Come on, where there is fruit, there is going to be fruit's just common sense, you wash them when you get home. Anyway, I'm thinking this story will go away as quickly as it spread on Facebook, don't even get me started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 's picture


Not to be gross or anything BUT you know,EVERYTHING that is a live living organism has maggot eggs(yet they aren't called that) in them.Once something dies,they form if not kept at a certain temp(try putting a dead bird in a enclosed zip lock bag ,set it somewhere and go see what happens!!!!~no flies needed to lay eggs like most believe OR go soak a smelt in slat water and see what comes crawling out!!!)LOL .............sounds to me as if Walmart did NOT have the temperature set right in that chicken case and thus the maggots came alive and as far as people saying they were clean..maggots do that too.....self eating cleaners........

 's picture

oops ,I meant SALT water

sorry typo!

At the Auburn Wal*Mart I saw

At the Auburn Wal*Mart I saw fruit flies on *AND* coming out of the fruit I went to buy some peaches that were on the square stand between the veggies & the deli and I reached for one and a whole swarm flew up and around me! Some landed on me, some flew away and some went back onto the fruit, a few of them crawled INSIDE a soft spot on one of the peaches. I actually told a worker & he's like, I can't keep flies outside, like what am I supposed to do about it? I couldn't believe it! It was so nasty; I left & haven't bought food like that from them again! Even now it creeps me out that they didn't seem to care, like it was no big deal that the flies were probably laying eggs in that peach and with the amount of flies, many more than that one piece of fruit probably had bugs inside... Plus they're so small, you'd probably never know if you didn't see it, just like that poor lady. Not only did she eat maggots but her CHILD did too and I am really hoping she gets a lawyer! (Even though it probably won't help...) I wish I had taken pictures or video of those peaches now but I was so disgusted (by the bugs AND the guy's attitude about it) that I just wanted to get out of there. I am hoping for the sake of mankind that it was just a coincedence because it's just sad if she did fake it for the money... It's sad what some people will do, I know for a fact that there are bugs in Wal*Mart though so whether THIS particular story is true or not, I am glad that it's getting attention! Wal*Mart thinks they are above the law anyway because they’re so big… I agree that there SHOULDN’T have been a third party pest place there either although once the woman called the manager, they probably cleaned out any evidence BEFORE calling the pest place, and as for them not finding anything of concern, It just requires a single fly to get inside and lay eggs, and they only take between 8-20 hours to hatch, and probably less in a warmer (google it, or go here to see that it can take just 8 hours )… I'm also surprised that someone would think she planted them because there wasn't sauce on them, lol... When maggots hatch, they crawl on top so not being covered in sauce (or anything else they hatch into) wouldn't be uncommon, that's why you usually see them in the bottom of trash bins & they're still white.

I'm not saying that her story

I'm not saying that her story is DEFINITELY true but saying that it could very well be true and I have seen flies crawling on their food so I wouldn't doubt that it is except for the fundraising page, which could be as she said, just something she hasn't deleted yet... It could be that she is just out for the money but even so, there are bugs in Wal*Mart and I'm glad that that fact is getting attention...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Flys and maggots on fried

Flys and maggots on fried chicken? "There's something fishy here", murmured the randomly suspicious parrot.

AL PELLETIER's picture

Hey Paul

Here's a great idea for W-M. Spray all prepared food, fruits and vegetables with Raid Flying Insect and Roach Spray. That should solve the "Great Maggot Mystery", (great title for a book don't you think?) .

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

With a surprise ending, it

With a surprise ending, it has all the makings of a #1 bestseller. Hell, everyone who has ever burped more than four times in their lives is writing books nowadays. Might as well have a great Mystery novel come out of Norway, Maine. Of course, your nom de plume will have to be "Sweetfern".

Steve  Dosh's picture

l o l , Paul & Al 19:00

l o l , Paul & Al 19:00 hst Thursday
Enquiring minds wanna' know : " Was it DeCoster or Tyson chicken ? "
Either way , strike an other low blow to Wally-World ® . You guys need a Target ® •
Oxford Casino nets nearly $10Million in first two months and a bucket of maggots ?
/s , Sweetfern @ hotmail . com ( not :)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What's your take on the

What's your take on the story, Steve? Real or fabricated?

AL PELLETIER's picture


I wonder if she washed her hands after leaving Walmart and before sticking them in the bucket? If she didn't, her hands were as contaminated with bacteria as the maggots. I think there's a fly in the ointment, and not the bucket, regarding this story.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture



 's picture

How Come?

How come the maggots have no sauce on them and that pile looks pretty white, good for being half way down the bucket in the heat and not one drop of sauce on the maggots

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Doesn't seem possible.....

Two things grab my attention here. One is the fact that a third party pest management company was allowed to enter the store, before the state inspectors, a lot of evidence can be cleaned up in a hurry if the money is there.
The second part is this food is usually so hot that if you purchased it in Oxford and started driving, you would be in S Portland by the time its cooled enough to eat it. I doubt the eggs or the actual maggots could survive the temperatures involved here. Even if they were in the bucket before the chicken was placed into it, especially if there's any sauce involved. You never know, weird things happen in transport, and food temps need to be maintained very carefully. Not many states check those things, and only about half of receivers check temperatures upon unloading freight.
With fuel costs near four dollars per gallon, some unscrupulous truckers (yes they are out there) could shut the coolers off in transport to save money. Turning it back on within six hours of reaching their destination would hide the fact that the chicken could have been close to room temperatures. Believe it or not, some places banned these freezer units, as well as trucks running in the winter, because neighbors were upset. The mile twenty four Burger Kings, on the Maine Turnpike we notorious for that many years ago. If a guy needed to sleep, he had to turn off his freezer unit. This made about a dozen people happy, jeopardizing thousands of people with potentially damaged food......

 's picture

While I am not in favor of

While I am not in favor of big conglomerates over local "Mom & Pop" stores..I have to agree with Mark Elliott who below brought up the fact that the maggots would not have survived being cooked. Kudos to the reporter for doing the rare thing these days which is "Good Investigative Reporting", its nice to read a real unbiased investigated story for a change.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Good bit of investigative

Good bit of investigative reporting by Tony Reaves. It gives a different slant on the credibility of the complaint. I would think that if the maggots came from Walmart, there would be other folks stepping forward with complaints. I'm sure they sell a fair share of cooked chicken products every day. Personally, I have strong doubts about the validity of the claim. I could be wrong, but...

 's picture

something smells fishy

looking for donations etc... sounds like a scam to me she needs like mark said to be investigated totally i think in my opion looking for quick cash but now she's made the news i hope other stores look out for her and refuse to sell her items from the though of being sued if she had the chciken for a while why didn't the maggots spread to the other chicken? and why was the maggots not colored the same color as the sauce?

Robin  Dudley's picture


I know when I worked at the Farmington Wal-Mart for about 2 days BEFORE their inspections the store would be in CLEAN mode to make sure everything past.

They let ALOT of things slide at Wal-Mart.

Robin  Dudley's picture


I think they need to check into more then just the Oxford Wal-Mart. I told my daughter that she was never having the chicken there again and I am gonna be buying my deli meat and things that are opened IN the store at Hannafords.

I would rather pay more and know its not gonna be moving around.

 's picture

Bucket of Chicken

Where did you have it for two hours before you decided to eat it?

Robin  Dudley's picture


I dont see where it was mentioned 2 hours -

I see the following -
Moore Park on Route 26 in Paris for about half an hour so her daughter could play and said she kept the bucket closed at the time.

 's picture

Bucket of Chicken

Where did you have it for two hours before you decided to eat it?

Mark Elliott's picture

This story stinks and needs

This story stinks and needs to be investigated for sure......Live maggots on recently FRIED food?? Flys don't lay maggots, they lay eggs that take about 24 hours to hatch......if indeed that chicken was fried that morning then there is no way those maggots came with the chicken.


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