Here are the simple facts: 14 year-old Ryan Hart of Jackson, Michigan was finishing up his Arby's roast beef sandwich last week when he bit into an non-traditional ingredient—"The fleshy, severed pad of an unfortunate employee's finger." It had been sliced off in a meat slicer. These things happen.

Now. Of course we can all agree with the fine folks at Arby's that this was an "unfortunate incident." But the real question here is the one that USA Today asks, in a rhetorical manner: Does this unfortunate incident place Arby's reputation in jeopardy? The only real way to know is to pose the question to you, the consumer.

Do you expect to dwell on this finger-portion-biting incident, replaying it over and over in your mind as you feel the bile rise higher and higher into your throat? Do you think that your carefree enjoyment of Arby's delicious roast beef sandwiches will be impaired by the thought that any bit could bring the sickening rubbery sensation of your teeth grinding against the severed finger pad of an Arby's employee who is still likely spewing blood in the back of the store? Does it make you involuntarily reflect on the latent similarities between Arby's roast beef and the flesh of human fingers? Does it make you imagine that even untainted bites of Arby's roast beef could, in fact, be made of the flesh of Arby's employees, and you wouldn't even know it? Think about how your teeth slide through juicy Arby's roast beef. Weird, right? What's in that stuff, really? What sort of cooking processes do you think Arby's would have to subject rubbery finger pad flesh to in order to get it to achieve the silky, salty, juiciness of Arby's roast beef? Would you prefer human flesh in your Arby's roast beef sandwich to be rubbery and tough and immediately distinguishable from the rest of the meat, or would you prefer it to be finely blended into the roast beef mixture so that you couldn't even tell you were consuming it? Are you able to eat Arby's roast beef without reflecting on questions such as these? Why or why not?

Arby's appreciates your help.

[Photo: jumbledpile/ Flickr]