Lifelong vegetarian left ‘mentally shaken’ after she was served a hot dog

A vegetarian was ‘sick for days’ after she was given a pork hot dog by mistake during a trip to IKEA.

Fern Jackson, who has been meat-free since birth, knew something wasn’t right as soon as she took the first bite of the meal.

The 22-year-old called over the manager over who confirmed that it was a meat hot dog.

She told DevonLive : "I was so angry – it’s the first time meat has passed between my lips in 22 years.

"I have never eaten meat, fish or even gelatin my entire life. My mum was even vegetarian when she was pregnant with me."

IKEA has apologised for the mix-up but Fern said it was not good enough and she needed reassurance that it would not happen again.

She has stated that she’s not looking for compensation and if she should be offered money she will donate it to an animal charity.

Fern, who lives in Dorset and was visiting the store in Exeter at the time, said: "I ordered a vegetarian hot dog from the deli area and when it arrived it looked just like the picture that was shown next to it on the menu board.

"I put some ketchup on and took a bite, but as soon as I did I knew something was not quite right.

"I told my grandma it didn’t taste right and we called the manager over to have a look.

"She told me it definitely wasn’t a vegetarian hot dog."

Fern said: "They look completely different. A meat hot dog looks like a normal Frankfurter but the vegetarian one is clearly lots of vegetables like peas and sweetcorn compressed together.

Fern said by the time she got home she was in a lot of pain with stomach cramps.

She said: "My body isn’t used to meat so I think I had a bad reaction. It lasted for about two days.

"I think it left me pretty mentally shaken as well, I have never liked the idea of eating something that was once living and that has really played on my mind."

Fern says the manager did apologise to her but said there was nothing more she could do.

"Sorry just doesn’t cut it I’m afraid," she said.

"If it were a Muslim and they had served them pork, that wouldn’t be acceptable – so why is it any different for me?

"I sent an email to IKEA’s head office about it and they didn’t get back to me.

"They did forward the email on to the manager at Exeter I had already spoken to and she said all the staff are re-doing their allergen training, but to me that is just not good enough.

"I want to know that they are changing the picture of the vegetarian hot dog on the menu so people don’t get confused. If it has happened to me, it’s bound to have happened to others elsewhere.

"I’m not after any compensation or anything – if I did get any I would donate it to an animal chairity.

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"I want them to prove to me that this will never be allowed to happen again. I’m very angry at the whole situation, it’s been a really bad experience for me."

Lorena Lourido, country IKEA food manager for IKEA UK & Ireland said: “It is of the highest importance that ingredients in the food sold in our Restaurant, Swedish Food Market and Bistro are clearly communicated.

"We understand that this incident would have been extremely distressing for the customer and we have been in direct contact with them to apologise.

"We take this matter very seriously and we have reviewed our co-worker training on allergens and dietary preferences as a result.”

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