Woolworths shopper makes 'worrying' find in bag of rice

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A Woolworths customer has serious concerns for the health of other shoppers after purchasing a bag of rice that appeared to be full of “clumps of fungus”.

Susil Ratnayake bought India Gate Sona Masoori Rice from the Toongabbie store, in Sydney’s west, on September 5.

“We thought it could be deadly if consumed,” Mr Ratnayake, from Woodcroft, told Yahoo News Australia.

“We didn’t even touch it because obviously it’s corona time and it came from overseas as well, so we were so worried.”

Photo shows clumps of fungus inside a bag of rice from Woolworths.
Susil Ratnayake said he bought the bag of rice (left) from the Toongabbie store (right) on September 5. Source: Supplied & Google Maps/Cabrafoodies

Given the product complete with the strange mystery content was imported from overseas, Mr Ratnayake said he thought it could also be a potential threat to Australia’s biosecurity.

“We are dealing with food here, so therefore I thought it was very, very important to raise the issue,” he said.

Mr Ratnayake said he promptly contacted the store following his disturbing find, which he said had started emitting a mouldy odour, out of consideration for his fellow shoppers.

“I called Toongabbie Woolworths store to tell them what we found in the rice thinking that if another customer found the same, it could harm them,” he said.

After several calls and the matter apparently being “escalated”, the customer eventually was able to speak with the store manager to express his concern on September 7.

Photo shows bag of India Gate bag of rice a shopper bought from Woolworths.
The India Gate bag has developed a mouldy odour due to its mystery contents. Source: Supplied

Still, he was unsatisfied at what he heard, complaining she offered him “excuses, not solutions”.

“They should take responsibility for selling quality, healthy food. Unhealthy food can make people ill and be dangerous,” he said.

A week after the discussion he said he had not heard anything further from the supermarket.

“There is no resolution or even an apology. I think those who sell food items like that should take more responsibility,” he said.

“I thought I should let the whole of Australia know about this incident as selling unhealthy food makes people sick, and can put their lives in danger.”

Five notable clumps can be seen inside the 5kg bag of rice.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted KRBL Limited, the parent company of India Gate.

“We’re aware of the customer’s complaint and have apologised to them,” a Woolworth’s spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“We will be issuing a full refund for the purchase of the product when they return it to our Toongabbie store.

“We’re unaware of any complaints of a similar nature on rice products at this time.”

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