Joe Valente tasted a rat before he smelled it.
The 96-year-old was celebrating his birthday with a slice of his favorite German apple ring cake, when he noticed it had an unusual flavor.
"He said, 'It doesn't taste right,'" Valente’s nephew Neil Gold told ABC News affiliate WABC.
Niel Gold said he then cut the cake to reveal what appeared to be a line of black mold. "We saw it was coming from the bottom. We flipped it over and seemed to be a rat's tail," Gold said.
The cake had been bought from Valente's regular grocery store, King Kullen, in the Hamlet of Commack in Suffolk County, N.Y., his nephew said.
Luckily, Valente didn’t contract food poisoning, but the family’s lawyer said he plans to have the cake tested by state officials and have appealed to authorities to investigate.
"I personally am of the opinion that this cake was tampered with," attorney Ed Yule said.
The grocery chain said it took immediate steps to find out what happened.
“Product has been removed from the bakery and the premises have undergone a thorough inspection,” King Kullen said in a statement. “There are no known safety or rodent issues in this bakery department and it is in good standing with all Department of Agriculture inspections.”
Little comfort for Valente, who told his nephew the experience may not have sent him to hospital, but made him feel pretty sick to his stomach.