Pecan log from Macon candy company had worms, lawsuit alleges

awomack@macon.comSeptember 19, 2013 

A woman alleges that she found live worms inside a pecan log manufactured by a Macon candy company about halfway through her nut-covered snack.

After complaining to Crown Candy Corp., 31-year-old Amanda Vaughn of Darien received a box of a dozen pecan logs in the mail, said Melissa Cruthirds, a Brunswick lawyer representing Vaughn in a lawsuit against the candy manufacturer.

Gary Black, the company’s chief financial officer, said he remembered the woman’s complaint, but he has not been served with a copy of the suit.

The suit, filed in Bibb County Superior Court this week, alleges that Vaughn bought the candy at a Fred’s Super Dollar in Darien on June 13. At home later that day, Vaughn began eating the pecan log, a candy made with a divinity center covered in caramel and pecans.

After eating about half the pecan log, she noticed that worms -- which she thinks were Indian meal moth larvae -- had infested her snack, according to the suit.

Seeing the short, white worms, Vaughn became nauseous, but did not require medical attention, Cruthirds said. Later, when Vaughn inspected the torn packaging looking for an expiration date, she couldn’t find one.

In her lawsuit, Vaughn alleges that the store “represented” the candy as being new, that Crown Candy negligently manufactured the product and that the candy was contaminated.

Black said the company buys its pecans from Valdosta, and they’re sanitized and pasteurized to kill any microscopic insect eggs. A pest control company visits the manufacturing plant weekly. Moth traps are set in the plant, and they’re checked for insect activity.

“We’re doing all we can,” Black said. “This is the same moth that will get into the meal in someone’s pantry.

Black said Crown Candy makes about 25,000 pecan logs a day.

Vaughn, who maintains that she experienced “severe emotional distress and anxiety from eating and otherwise experiencing the worms,” is seeking compensation and a trial by jury.

“It grossed her out, and she hasn’t received any satisfaction from the company,” Cruthirds said. “She’s just looking for a reasonable satisfaction of her claim. She ate a pecan log with worms in it.”

Crown Candy began as a company producing fudge and peanut bars in Atlanta in 1917 and has had multiple owners. The company moved to Macon in 1971 and now produces chocolate delights, pecan divinity, toasted macaroons, coconut bon bons, coconut tips, pecan logs and peanut brittle, according to the company’s website.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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