After shopping with her mother at Columbus Circle Whole Foods Manhattan on Sunday, May 23, Brittany Ellis decided to pop into the butcher’s section to take a break and answer a phone call. She was horrified to discover a furry rodent gnawing on raw veal, priced at $22.99 per pound inside the meat cabinet.

Ellis, 26, told her mother about the rodent that gave her goosebumps, but her mother did not believe her, so she decided to take a video of it.

“She doesn’t believe me, you know, so that’s what I’m trying to get a worker, but nobody seemed to be attentive,” Ellis said. “I decided to record it because nobody would believe me, unless there was video proof.”

Ellis posted a video of the moment with the caption: “But why was there a whole mouse in Whole Foods!!!” on TikTok on May 24, and the video has since received more than 2.6 million views.

“I didn’t even think it was gonna hit like a million views,” she said. “I don’t even think it was gonna hit like 1,000 views. I thought that every day it’s first TikTok, like I’m not on TikTok that much. I just joined it, like I didn’t think it was going to do what it did.”

By the time Ellis discovered the rat, she tried to get the attention of employees at Whole Foods.

“Eventually, I first tried to hit up two associates that were like in the produce section because the butchers been busy when they didn’t respond,” she said. “We eventually waited for the butcher to let him know. He thought we were going (to) purchase meat at first, I was like no, I don’t think you want to put your hand back in there because there’s a mouse that could bite you or you know, health reasons I don’t know what it could do. It’s busy eating, it might think your food.”

The butcher was even more perplexed after Ellis informed him of the situation.

“He’s like, ‘There’s no way,’ and then he looks in the cage and he sees and he’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy,'” she said. “So yeah, eventually his manager did come out. We did speak to the manager, but it was more of a like a nonchalant, not like kind of a let me get your information, let you know this is happening or no kind of transfer kind of situation.”

There were many questions in Ellis’s mind, whether the rat would nibble on other foods similar to high-grade veal, and she worried about other food items in the shop.

“Something has to be done because people could potentially be sick now,” she said. “Makes me think my mom did go shopping there the week before without me. Could she have gotten sick? It now brings health concerns. I don’t want to step foot in until I know something more has been done, then just, ‘We got rid of it.’ So they say it was a baby. Babies have family. Where there’s one, there could be more.”

Consumer Josh Holander, 70, said that rat and meat should not go together because it could spread diseases.

Ellis ended up leaving the store without buying anything and she never wanted to go back there.

Those working at the butcher counter stated they had no idea how the cunning rat got into stalls.

A Whole Foods Market spokesperson told Insider that they were taking the situation very seriously and that they “immediately removed and disposed of all products in the case, performed a deep cleaning, and brought in a third-party service for a thorough inspection.”

They added that the store “diligently followed our detailed protocol in response and continues to work closely with our food safety system.

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