A Florida food packager that lists “convenience at your fingertips” as one of its top qualities has been sued by a California prison inmate who says that he bit into a real human fingertip when he consumed one of the company’s vegetarian meals.

The company, G.A. Food Services, said in a letter to Pelican Bay State Prison that the ¾-inch fingertip accidentally had been sliced off the right middle finger of one of its workers when the employee was cleaning a filling machine on the frozen entree assembly line on July 14, 2004.

The department manager mistakenly thought all flesh had been flushed from the machine, the letter said. When workers couldn’t find the fingertip, they assumed it had been washed down the drain.

In the March 29 letter, included in the lawsuit, quality assurance director Frank Curto apologized for the “foreign object that was found in one of our frozen entrees” and “any inconveniences that were incurred as a result of this incident.”

The apology apparently wasn’t good enough for Felipe Rocha, 29, of Los Angeles, incarcerated at the maximum security prison on drug charges. His lawyer, Sacramento-based Mark Merin, filed suit Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco.

He is asking for at least $75,000 in damages from the St. Petersburg packager. In addition, Merin said, he wants the prison to stop buying food from G.A. Food Services because it is a nonunion shop in the right-to-work state of Florida, and he questions its sanitary standards.