A Coles customer has taken to Facebook to reveal a disturbing find in a punnet of strawberries she purchased from the supermarket.
Sophie Carrington, who bought the Taste 'N See strawberries from Coles East Village on Sunday October, 3, said she was “shocked” when she bit into one of the strawberries.
“Warning: Bit into this piece of wire in one of my strawberries today. Please check your fruit items. This could have ended very badly,” wrote Ms Carrington in her Facebook post.
Ms Carrington posted two photos of the strawberry punnet, including one which shows the small piece of wire extracted from one of the strawberries.
A Coles spokesperson responded to the claim made by Ms Carrington, saying they have spoken to the customer to follow up the complaint and investigate the issue.
“I was shocked to bite into one of them and found a wire as I began to chew,” Ms Carrington told Yahoo News Australia.
“Luckily I stopped and pulled it out of my mouth before swallowing,” she added.
Ms Carrington, who does her weekly shop at Coles East Village and regularly buys strawberries, said she felt extremely concerned after discovering the dangerous wire.
Coles customer shocked by find: 'What if a child bit into it?'
“I felt extremely concerned after finding the wire, and as a teacher who works with children daily, my immediate thought was: ‘What if a child had bitten through this strawberry?’” said Ms Carrington.
“What complications may have happened if it wasn’t an adult like myself?”
Ms Carrington said she has been aware of similar incidents with fruit previously from the news, but she never expected it to ever happen to her.
The incidents Ms Carrington is referring to is the 2018 food safety crisis, which saw numerous punnets of strawberries grown in Queensland and Western Australia contaminated with needles.
Yahoo News Australia is not suggesting that this incident is linked to the previous food safety crisis.
Ms Carrington explained that she has since spoken with the Coles Customer Care team, who said they will investigate the issue further and encouraged her to head back to Coles East Village with the contaminated strawberries and her receipt.
“Coles needs to reassess some of their procedures in hygiene and safety to ensure this doesn’t happen again. I’m lucky I reacted quick enough,” Ms Carrington said.
Coles and Taste 'N See strawberry suppliers respond
A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia they have spoken to the Customer Care team who responded to Ms Carrington’s claim and the retailer's quality team is managing the investigation.
“Coles takes the safety of the food we sell seriously, and we have spoken to the customer to follow up their complaint,” said the Coles spokesperson.
“We have worked with our strawberry suppliers to implement additional control measures to ensure strawberries are inspected before they are sent to supermarkets,” added the spokesperson.
“Our quality team is working with our supplier to investigate the matter.”
Meanwhile, the supplier Taste N’ See, told Yahoo News Australia they have safety procedures in place and were working with Coles to investigate the issue.
Taste ‘N See farm is a family-run strawberry farm, run by neighbouring families the Schiffke and Stotharts, in Bellmere, near Caboolture in southeast Queensland.
The Queensland strawberry farm grows around 2.5 million plants, or a total of 1680 tonnes annually of marketed first-grade fruit – all sold to Coles in 350g punnets.
“Taste 'N See takes food safety seriously and we have control measures in place including metal detectors, this technology ensures our strawberries are inspected before they are sent to supermarkets,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
“We understand the customer has spoken with the Coles Customer Care team and we will work with their quality team to investigate.”
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