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Piece of human thumb found in cafeteria food

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HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) — A student eating in a high school cafeteria discovered a small piece of a human thumb in her sandwich when she took a bite.

Officials determined the thumb piece belonged to a cafeteria worker who had severed the top of her thumb in a vegetable slicer this week.

The female student spat out the partial appendage while eating her lunch at Barnstable High School on Wednesday, the Cape Cod Times reported Friday. She asked not to be identified.

"It was clear to the inspector that it was a small piece of fingernail and flesh from a right thumb," said Thomas McKean, director of public health in Barnstable.

Spokesmen for Sodxho Marriott Services, which serves the school, said they will contact the student. "Obviously this is completely unacceptable," said Scott Loretan, senior vice president of operations for the company. "We are investigating what happened, and we will take appropriate action."

By Thursday morning, state and town health officials had been notified.

"Blood-borne diseases cannot be transmitted through food," said Roseanne Pawelec, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Health. "We understand this is very upsetting, but there is no public health risk, and we want to make sure people know that."

According to McKean, a cafeteria supervisor said the slicing machine that injured the worker had been sanitized, and all nearby food thrown out.