A HORRIFIED mother discovered a live false widow spider in a box of grapes she had been feeding to her one-year-old daughter.
Steph Home only discovered the venomous spider when she and little Amelia had eaten several of the red grapes from Tesco.
The false widow’s bite can be extremely serious to young children and a three-year-old from Kent was recently left unable to walk until the bite healed. Other victims have been left with deep wounds sometimes requiring surgery to save the limb.
Steph, from Preston, Lancashire, bought the Suntrail Farms branded grapes, grown in Spain, from her local Tesco Extra in Ribbleton, Preston, for £1.25 yesterday (MON).
A photograph of the spider clearly shows the distinctive markings of the false widow on its abdomen.
She returned the remaining grapes – and spider – to the supermarket chain, who have said they are investigating “due to the serious nature” of the incident.
Steph, 26, who also has a six-year-old son, Tyler, posted on Tesco’s facebook page: “I bought some grapes from the Tesco Extra near me this morning for my kids. I took them out this evening to wash them, and found this false widow spider crawling around at the bottom.
“I am very glad I chose to take them out and wash them rather than give them straight to my kids!”
Tesco replied to Steph in the comments section of her post. A spokeswoman for the supermarket said: “Hi Steph, I’m so sorry you found this in the punnet of grapes you purchased! I can appreciate this is very concerning and I’m glad you noticed this before giving the punnet to your children.
“Due to the serious nature of this, can you please return the spider/punnet to your nearest Metro, Extra or Superstore so my colleagues can complete the relevant paperwork with you and send this off for investigation to work out how it got there and what measures need to be put in place to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.
“Following the investigation, should you request so and provide your contact details, you’ll then receive a written response from a Specialist Team with the outcome.”
Speaking today(TUE), Steph said: “It really wasn’t very nice, there were so many ‘what if’s’ going around in my head last night. I’m so glad I didn’t give the box to my son, to get his own grapes out.
“I actually gave Amelia a few of the grapes yesterday before I even noticed the spider. I only realised it was there when I went to lift the grapes out of the box.
“It could have crawled out, out of the sides or even out of the holes at the bottom. It could have bit me or the kids when we went to take the grapes out.”
In 2016 Marie Hinds from Gosport, South Hampshire, almost lost her leg after waking up with a bite from a false widow spider. The venom from the spider moved into her leg muscles, and she had to undergo surgery to save her limb.
Also in 2016, Richard Stevens, from Orpington, Kent, shared graphic images of the inch and a half deep swollen hole caused by a false widow bite to the leg. The crater was around the size of £1 coin and was seeping with pus by the time he went to hospital.
Tesco today confirmed they would be investigating the discovery of the false widow spider.
A spokeswoman said: “We sell millions of punnets of grapes every week and work together with our growers to ensure our products meet high standards, so it’s extremely rare to hear of this sort of incident. We’ll investigate this with our supplier and update Steph with our findings.”