The Slug Found in Queen Elizabeth II’s Salad Could Have Harmed Her — Here’s Why

When it comes to regal, well-established women, we can’t think of anyone more important than Queen Elizabeth II. She stands as the longest-reigning monarch, and at 92 years old, she certainly has her routine all figured out, too. There are certain foods the queen absolutely loves — and others she refuses to eat. Due to past events, she may have to add “slugs” to the list of dietary items she’d gladly do without.

Here’s what happened when a slug was found on the queen’s dinner plate — and how it could have led to serious illness.

The queen once found a slug in her salad

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | Alastair Grant /AFP/Getty Images

At 92 years old, the queen is as healthy as can be — and she can partially thank her healthy diet for that. According to Express, she’s a woman who “eats to live” and loves fresh, organic produce. Former royal chef Darren McGrady, who worked for the royals for 15 years, even confirmed that the queen loves to eat fresh, seasonal foods. And if a dish included produce that was out of season, the queen was known for sending it back. As McGrady said, “Try including strawberries on the menu in January and she’ll scrub out the line and say don’t dare send me genetically modified strawberries.”

Going organic and fresh all the time does come with its risks, however. Pests you wouldn’t normally see on produce can end up in meals. And one time, the queen spotted a slimy garden slug moving through her salad as she was sitting down for her meal.

Consuming slugs can cause paralysis or severe sickness in some cases


Lettuce | Wmaster890/iStock/Getty Images

It’s a good thing the queen spotted the slug before she consumed all of her salad. While consuming slugs isn’t always dangerous, these garden pests can carry parasites that can lead to debilitating illness, National Geographic notes.

For example, Sam Ballard was 19 when he ate a slug on a dare. Within days, he developed a rare form of meningitis and, as a result, was put into a coma for a year. Even after he woke up from the coma, he was paralyzed from the neck down. Eventually, the parasite found in the slug killed him.

Ballard contracted meningitis due to a parasite within the slug known as rat lungworm. The parasite is common in slug and snail species and, when ingested by humans or animals, attacks the brain. While the severity of Ballard’s case is rare, slugs can carry a multitude of parasites that can make you sick. And, in the case of the queen, her age may make it difficult to fight off any severe incoming parasites.

Her witty reaction to the slug had many laughing

Queen Elizabeth II attends the annual Braemar Highland Gathering in 2018

Queen Elizabeth II attends the 2018 Braemar Highland Gathering in 2018. | Jeff J. Mitchell/ Getty Images

Did the queen narrowly avoid death? We’ll never know for sure — but what we do know is how she reacted to the whole fiasco. Vanity Fair reports the queen has a book she writes in to record how she feels about the meals she’s served daily. This book is then passed on to kitchen staff so they can hear her feedback. On the day of the slug incident, Queen Elizabeth II tore a page from the book and plopped the slug right on top. She then wrote on the feedback page, “I found this in the salad — could you eat it?” Needless to say, that was the last time the queen found any pests in her food.

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