Brazilian wandering spider

Any hack journalist knows how it goes – one event is a story, two is a coincidence, but three? It’s now officially a trend!

So get ready to have disgusting bugs crawling all over your groceries. It’s the new trend, after all.

Detroit’s WXYZ-TV reported this week that a local woman was shocked to find a black widow spider inside a bag of grapes she had purchased from Kroger. “Her 20-year-old son noticed a web and then saw the spider when he was enjoying the healthy snack,” the reporter deadpanned. Kroger offered up a statement that expressed concern (“we are extremely grateful no one was harmed in this incident”), was a bit defensive (“Kroger works extensively with our growers to insure (sic) there are inspection processes points (sic) in place to make sure we are providing safe and quality food at all times”) and seemed to shift responsibility for seeking out deadly spiders, onto its shoppers (“we also encourage customers to practice safe food handling.”)

And then they gave the woman a $25 gift card.

In another, unrelated incident, Houston’s News 92 FM did a mini-investigation, after one of their own staffers found a roach wing in her miniature Hershey bar. They found that, go figure, chocolate tends to attract critters. And the FDA “allows an average of 59 or less insect fragments per 100 grams” when it inspects samples.

What they didn’t report, was what Hershey had to say about it. Or whether they offered the grossed-out staffer a coupon.

A woman in England got a generous coupon offer though, after her home became infested with the deadliest spiders in the world, thanks to a supermarket banana. In the most widely-reported story of the bunch – and one that makes for a perfect trio of stories about creepy-crawly cuisine – a British family was forced to flee their home after Mum discovered spiders crawling all over a banana she purchased from the local Sainsbury’s. “I thought it was mold but when I had a closer look I saw some funny looking spots,” Consi Taylor told the Sun newspaper. “I had a closer look and was horrified to see they were spiders. They were hatching out on the table, scurrying around on my carpet.”

She says Sainsbury’s offered her a coupon for £10 off her next purchase as an apology. That is, until they realized the Brazilian wandering spiders were venomous killers. Then Sainsbury’s paid to have their house fumigated, and covered the cost of a hotel room.

As if crafting a bogus trend story out of these three unrelated incidents (you know, like we’re doing here) isn’t bad enough, some of the actual hack-worthy headlines on stories about this last incident might be enough to make you cringe – even more than the thought of finding pests on your produce:

  • “Should you be worried about deadly spiders in bananas?”
  • “Spiders in bananas can kill: What consumers should know.”
  • “Have You Checked Your Bananas for Spiders?”

So be sure to check your food for unwanted surprises, or you just might find yourself the recipient of an apologetic coupon. Besides, you really don’t want to be the fourth person this week to discover bug-infested groceries. Because the journalists who stopped counting at three will have already moved on.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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