Coles has issued an urgent warning for all customers to check their fresh produce after two shoppers made a deadly discovery in their bag of grapes.
The alert comes after the shoppers claimed to have found redback spiders hiding in their fresh bunches of grapes.
One customer purchased the grapes from Coles at Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast, while the other bought theirs from Tweed City, which is south of the Queensland border.
Tony Marshel, a Terranora local, was shocked when he "almost ate" a redback spider that had been hiding in his Coles grapes on Thursday.
Mr Marshel told Yahoo News Australia the grapes had been washed on Wednesday and spent the night in the fridge before he decided to eat them.
'I almost ate the spider': Coles shopper reveals
“Normally one doesn’t consciously look at grapes when you are eating, but this caught my eye when I picked up the grapes,” said Mr Marshel.
“I was quite surprised when I almost ate the spider. Obviously they are resilient to water and cold temperatures,” he added.
He explained that he wasn’t “overly worried” when he discovered his eight-legged friend, but was more concerned about kids finding them in their lunchboxes.
Fortunately, Mr Marshel spoke to the Manager of his local Coles to inform her of the shocking find, who immediately filed a report on the product.
Meanwhile, a retired policeman Andrew Bell told Nine News his daughter was eating grapes when she encountered a live redback spider.
“She was just munching away at them, and she just saw this redback,” he said. “The last thing you’re expecting is a goddamn redback in the grapes.”
Mr Bell also voiced his concern over the dangers posed by children finding venomous spiders in their food.
Coles says redback spiders hiding in crops is an ‘industry-wide issue’
A Coles spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia that redback spiders hiding in crops is an industry-wide issue and the supermarket is working closely with suppliers to mitigate any risks.
“All Coles suppliers are required to keep their fields clean and have pest control systems in place to prevent product contamination during packaging,” said the spokesperson.
“Coles takes the quality of all our products seriously and all grapes are visually inspected at harvest and packing for any pest presence.”
These reports highlight the need for Aussies to double check and wash all fresh produce before consumption, as live spiders and insects are a regular occurrence in crops during the summer.
It’s believed Australia’s wet summer caused by La Nina has sparked an increase in spider and insect infestations across the country.
However, it's not just Coles customers who are discovering creepy crawlies in their fresh produce.
Recently, an Aldi shopper discovered a live redback spider in the bunch of grapes in her fridge, and the week before a customer was terrified to find a scorpion living in her broccoli.
Expert warns spider populations increase in wet season
Previously, Graham Milledge, an Arachnology Collection Manager at the Australian Museum, told Yahoo News Australia that spider populations increase in the wet season from November to April.
“This is the time of year that spider populations normally increase, with rising temperatures and prey abundance,” Mr Milledge explained.
When asked what types of species people are most likely to encounter during this time, Mr Milledge said that people tend to notice the larger species, such as various orb weavers and huntsman spiders.
“The warmer months tend to be the mating season for funnel-webs and trapdoors, so you are more likely to encounter wandering males,” he said.
Mr Milledge had some advice for any arachnophobes who come into contact with spiders in their homes.
“If you are not an arachnophobe, leave them be, except if you suspect it to be dangerous.”
If you do find one of these spiders in or around your home, then you can call pest control, the Australian Reptile Park, or the Poisons Information Hotline (13 11 26 ).
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