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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Deadly poisonous spiders in bags of grapes from grocery stores

A shopper discovered one of the world’s most dangerous spiders when she opened a packet of red seedless grapes from her local grocery store.

This is the second time in five days that a Redback spider has been reported in a product from Australian supermarket chain Woolworths.

“When I went to wash a handful for my 1-year-old daughter after chewing on her the day before, I found a spider web and the spider alive,” said Kristy Backman, from Perth, Western Australia, in a Facebook post on the community site. Woolworth’s website.

A Woolworths customer in Brisbane, Queensland, over 2,000 miles from Backman’s home, also found a Redback spider a few days earlier.

“WARNING I just bought a punnet of black seedless grapes from the store in Redbank Plains (Mountainview) and found a live redback spider inside,” Brisbane resident Lani Neil said in a Facebook post on the same community page on March 25. February.

Woolworths replied: “We take reports like this seriously and will look into this with our team.” It’s unclear if Neil received a resolution.

There hasn’t been a response to Backman’s post yet, though she said the store offered her a replacement bag. “The product manager said he would take it up with the quality department,” she added.

A close relative of the black widow spider, the redback spider is found throughout Australia, particularly in urban areas. For this reason, they are commonly found in sheds, garages and in outside toilets, according to the University of Melbourne.

Females are significantly larger than males and can be distinguished by a large red, orange, or tan stripe on their abdomen. As for spiders, even the females are relatively small, averaging less than half an inch, according to the Australian Museum.

Like the black widow, its venom is a powerful neurotoxin that shuts down the nervous system if left untreated. No direct deaths have been caused by this species since the antidote was introduced in 1956, according to the Australian Museum, despite the approximately 2,000 bites recorded each year.

Bites usually occur when people accidentally disturb their webs, which Backman could easily do while digging through her grapes.

Cases like this are not entirely unknown. In February 2022, a Woolworths customer in Sydney also found a Redback in a crate of grapes. A month later, a woman in New South Wales found a redback and its egg sac lurking in a crate of grapes from a Coles supermarket, another local chain.

“The truth is, this happens more often than people think,” said one user in response to Neil’s post. “I’m a former product manager at Woolworths and we’ve occasionally found spiders in the grapes. I once opened a box of bananas and found a live snake underneath! It is nature and unfortunately it will happen.”

news week has reached out to Woolworths, Neil and Backman for comment.

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