“I opened the top of the bag and almost immediately noticed movement in the bag towards the opening. I shrieked and dropped the bag in the sink, finding a large spider perched at the top of my grapes.”
Due to the size and shape of the spider, my sister knew it was like nothing she’d ever seen before. With a 4-month old baby and a two year old in the home, she wanted to take safe precaution to not allow the spider to run or jump from the bag, and ended up boiling the arachnid, bag and all.
After a full hour of boiling, she removed the bag from the burner and took the package to her husband at work. Both were alarmed to find that when they found and removed the now dead spider from the bag, it had a red hourglass on its belly. Sure enough, this spider was a black widow: a potentially deadly spider who had ridden home just behind the seats of her 4-month old baby and two year old daughter — had nearly been handed over to her toddler with her snack.
While this incident happened four days ago, the list of Aldi recalls still does not indicate that these grapes can be a hazard, and Aldi has not publicly commented or given notice to customers that caution should be taken when washing and serving their grapes. In fact, when asked about the incident by local media, both the management of the Sugar Grove, IL store where the grapes were purchased and Aldi Corporate denied knowledge of the incident, despite multiple instances of contact with my sister.
The store has given her a $25 gift card and worked with the distributor to send a large boxes of Halo California mandarin oranges to her home. But she doesn’t want compensation — she just wants Aldi to do the right thing to ensure others aren’t put at risk. Black widow bites are potentially deadly to small children, elderly and pets. This was a close call.
While these grapes were purchased from Aldi in Sugar Grove, IL — it has come to our attention that this isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Just this year black widows have been reported in grapes from BJ’s in Pennsylvania, Shaw’s in Massachusetts, a Walmart in Michigan and yet another Aldi in Lemington Spa — just to name a few instances. A former produce clerk reports that it’s common knowledge in his line of work to be aware when stocking, moving or washing fruit, as a variety of dangerous insects, spiders and even snakes can be brought in from other locations. Yet overall, the general public is unaware that this can be an issue. We feel this needs to change.
Please… make sure you closely examine, open and wash all of your produce, especially if you have small children, elderly, anyone infirmed or pets living with you. While black widow bites are wickedly unpleasant for all involved, they are potentially deadly in these situations.
We hope that Aldi Corporate decides to stop attempting to hide this incident and opts to do the right thing: informing their customers of the potential danger, here. Many people could be made to suffer or could die — but this doesn’t have to be the case. Awareness is key, and people need to know this happens so that they can take the appropriate steps towards safety.