After buying various items, Cook said, the man was approached by investigators outside the store and allowed them to search his truck, where an open package of sewing needles was found in a center console. Identifying himself as Ronald Avers, Cook wrote, the man insisted he kept the needles on hand to mend pants he tore while camping, then gradually acknowledged he used the needles more inappropriately.
"'Every now and then I would stick one in a hamburger,'" Cook quoted Avers as saying before the man expounded, "'Mostly hamburger, a couple of times I did it with a roast, maybe a pork chop every now and then.'"
Avers insisted he had no justification for such tampering, calling it a "stupid idea," Cook wrote.
"Avers said during the interview two times he inserted sewing needles into packaged meat products, 'just for the hell of it.'" the FBI agent wrote, adding that Avers continued: "It was stupidity. I didn't want to hurt nobody."
Online court records show that Avers has a history of traffic offenses but no previous criminal background.
Swanson, the SuperValu spokesman, said any customer who bought fresh meat from the store before July 12 can get a refund or exchange it.