Woman alarmed to find mysterious 'red stuff' in supermarket butter block

While blue vein cheese is a common addition to dinner parties of many, a Kiwi woman found red-flecked butter a little alarming while preparing for a meal last weekend.

Tania Whyte, from Whangarei Heads, north of Auckland, was concerned to find mysterious “red stuff” in her butter as she sliced into the block.

She said the matter looked like plastic pieces stuck in the 500g block of NZ brand Pams butter she was planning to add to her home-grown green beans to serve up.

"I'd already used a bit of the block for garlic butter but it wasn't until I sliced a bigger bit off that you could see all the red stuff,” the mother told the New Zealand Herald of the product purchased from a local supermarket.

“At first I thought it was like saffron sprinkled through it.“

Mrs Whyte said she contacted Pams on Monday, and the customer service team arranged for the butter to be collected the following day and delivered to the supplier for laboratory testing.

Head of external relations for Foodstuffs, Antoinette Laird told the newspaper initial testing suggested the red particles had most likely come from the knife that cut the butter, as the red flecks were only present on the cut surfaces.

“Early investigations suggested the substance was likely to be Teflon from a Teflon covered knife or wax from another product," Ms Laird said.

"Final testing is under way but based on the initial investigation, discussion with the customer and the fact there have been no other complaints, we believe the substance is indeed Teflon transferred to the butter in the customer's home."

Ms Laird added that food safety was a priority for the company, and product concern is taken very seriously.

"It is actually not uncommon to find that suspected food issues do in fact have an innocent explanation, often caused in the home,” she added.

After learning of the test results, Mrs Whyte told the newspaper she recalled a number of people were cooking at her home and some of them brought their own cooking utensils, and she did remember a red knife among those.

“Pams have been wonderful and I feel really bad about what's happened. But, anyone in my position would have been alarmed as I was,” she told.

Mrs Whyte said she would not be using the $10 voucher the customer service team sent following her initial complaint.