As both your mother and the law will tell you, don’t shove food in your mouth. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
In 1938, a woman sat down to a plate of sliced turkey with dressing and vegetables served at a restaurant and choked on the one-inch-long turkey bone that she didn’t realize was in her slice of turkey. She sued the restaurant for negligence in its food preparation.
But the Court dismissed the case and created what is still the standard for whether a food preparer is negligent in a case like this, which is based on whether the object in the food that caused the injury is “foreign” to the dish served. The Court said that bones—like turkey bones—which are natural to the type of meat served are not considered a foreign substance, and a consumer who eats meat dishes ought to anticipate and be on his guard against the presence of such bones. So here’s your legal lesson as we enter the holiday season: take small bites.