A Leamington supermarket has launched an investigation after a Whitnash couple found a deadly Black Widow spider in a bunch of grapes they were about to give to their young children.
Hanna Horsley bought the bunch of grapes from Asda in Sydenham on Tuesday and her husband Richard saw the spider nesting among the fruit when he took it out of the fridge to give it to the youngsters, who are all under six, for their pudding.
Mrs Horsley said: “We saw the red markings on the spider and knew that this wasn’t a good sign.
“Had it bitten any of the children it could have been fatal for them.
“We usually just give the children a whole bunch of grapes to eat from so if that was the case this time it could have been a very different situation.
“It is unfortunate that it happened and probably unlucky for Asda - there is always a risk with foreign produce.
Geoff GrewcockJust the other week a guy returned from the Caribbean to find a tarantula in his case when he opened it
“If it had been just a normal spider fair enough but this is a different story.”
Shocked and unsure as of what to do the couple called Warwickshire Police who then contacted the Nuneaton and Warwickshire Wildlife sanctuary which used the photographs sent through to them to check if it thought the spider was indeed a Black Widow before sending Geoff Grewcock out to the house.
Mr Grewcock has said: “We found a complete nest inside. One of the spiders had given birth and there were lots of baby spiders running around.
“The spider is with us at the moment but it is going to be put to sleep at some point as it can be incredibly dangerous if you come into contact with it.”
The grapes had come from Mexico but Black Widows can be found in various different countries all over the world.
Mr Grewcock added that finding foreign spiders in the UK is not rare.
He said: “It’s not uncommon of course with food coming in from foreign countries but it’s still terrifying for those involved.
“Animals of all sorts can get onto food, between crates during shipping and sometimes, even in suitcases and we deal with it quite regularly.
“Just the other week a guy returned from the Caribbean to find a tarantula in his case when he opened it.”
An Asda spokesperson said the company takes spider stowaways very seriously and has launched an investigation to determine how this particular one got through its checks.
They added: “We are in contact with the customer and would like to reassure all our customers that these types of incidents are extremely rare and that we have robust processes in place for identifying pests, including spiders.
“All our grapes are fumigated and cold stored but very occasionally a spider hangs around.”