Supermarket chain Aldi pulled its entire stock of grapes from Milwaukee, WI, stores earlier this month after a shopper found a live black widow spider in a container of red grapes purchased from Aldi’s Wauwatosa, WI, store.
Similar occurrences have happened in recent months in Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota.
The Michigan incident happened just days prior to the one in Wisconsin, with a family finding the live spider in a bag of red grapes after taking it home from a Kroger store in Brighton, MI.
Two more black widows were found in containers of red grapes at an Aldi store in St. Louis in early October. In September, a black widow was reportedly found in a shipment of grapes at a Maplewood, MN, school.
Aldi has said it will implement additional inspection procedures at its warehouses and stores in hopes of preventing any further problems.
In the early 2000s, three customers complained of finding black widow spiders in their grapes purchased from Tesco supermarkets in the United Kingdom. The grape grower said it had begun using spiders on their vines as an alternative to pesticides.
The black widow is the most venomous spider in North America, though it only kills around 1 percent of those it bites. Small children and the elderly are most susceptible to the black widow’s venom.
Those who encounter a black widow are advised not to handle it, but instead capture it in a container and set it free outside. While the spiders are not aggressive, they will bite in self-defense.
The spiders are most easily identifiable by their long, shiny black legs and a reddish hourglass mark on their abdomens.
Symptoms of black widow bites may include nausea, muscle aches and difficulty breathing. Anyone who suspects they have been bitten by a black widow is advised to apply ice to the bite and seek medical attention to receive anti-venom.© Food Safety News