Giving grapes to your two year old shouldn’t be a potentially deadly undertaking. But when my sister, Laura Wilson, went to prepare her daughter’s snack, she was greeted with a startling surprise.
“I opened the top of the bag and almost immediately noticed movement inside. I shrieked and dropped the bag in the sink, finding a large spider perched at the top of my grapes.”
Given the size and shape of this spider, Laura wondered if she had something greater to fear. She took precaution to not allow the spider to run or jump into her home, boiling the arachnid, bag and all.
After a full hour, Laura removed her spider-soup creation from the burner and took it to her husband at work. Both were alarmed to find that the now dead spider had a red hourglass on its belly. This potentially deadly black widow spider had ridden home from the store just behind the seats of her 4-month old baby and two year old daughter, then had nearly been fed to the toddler as a snack.
While this incident happened well over a week ago, the list of Aldi recalls still does not indicate that these grapes can be a hazard, nor has Aldi publicly commented or given notice to customers that caution should be taken when washing and serving their grapes. In fact, when asked about the incident by local media, both the management of the Sugar Grove, IL store where the grapes were purchased and Aldi Corporate denied knowledge of the incident, despite multiple instances of contact with Ms. Wilson.
The store has given Laura a $25 gift card and worked with the distributor to send a large boxes of Halo California mandarin oranges to her home. However, Laura doesn’t want compensation — she just wants Aldi to do the right thing to ensure others aren’t put at risk. There is an opportunity to put the safety of children over profit here, alerting others and keeping people safe. Black widow bites are potentially deadly to small children, elderly and pets, and this was a very close call.
While these grapes were purchased from Aldi in Sugar Grove, IL — it has come to our attention that finding black widows in fruit isn’t an uncommon occurrence. Just this year black widows have been reported in grapes from BJ’s in Pennsylvania, Shaw’s in Massachusetts, a Walmart in Michigan and yet another Aldi in Lemington Spa — just to name a few instances.
Dailymail has reported that Europe’s Tesco actually uses black widows in place of pesticides to protect their grapes from other insects — an answer to pesticides that could really make sense if the public were informed of this. A former produce clerk reports that it’s common knowledge in his line of work to be very aware when stocking, moving or washing fruit, as a variety of dangerous insects, spiders and even snakes can be brought in from other locations. Yet overall, the general public is unaware that this can be an issue. We feel this needs to change.
Please… make sure you always carefully examine, open and wash all of your produce, especially if you have small children, elderly, anyone who’s ill, or pets living with you. While black widow bites are wickedly unpleasant for all involved, they are potentially deadly in these situations.
We hope that Aldi Corporate decides to stop attempting to hide this incident and opts to do the right, considerate, (and kind!) thing: informing their customers of the potential danger, here. Children could die, and this doesn’t have to be the case. Awareness is key, and people need to know of the potential dangers so that they can take the appropriate steps towards safety.
What to do if you’ve been bitten by a black widow spider:
- Wash the bite area with soap and water.
- Elevate the area to prevent spread of the venom.
- Tie a snug bandage above the area (if on an arm or leg) to further reduce spread of the venom, but do not make the bandage too tight that it impairs the blood circulation.
- Always seek immediate emergency medical care. An anti-venom medication is sometimes given for black widow spider bites. Doctors use different types of medications to treat spider bites, including pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and/or corticosteroids. Sometimes hospitalization is required after black widow or brown recluse spider bites.
- If possible, retrieve the spider and bring it with you to the health care practitioner so that it can be definitively identified.
- A tetanus booster shot may be necessary, depending upon the date of the patient’s last immunization.
- Calling the Poison Control Center (24-hour hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the U.S.) allows you to reach toxicology experts who can work with a health care provider in establishing the proper diagnosis and management of a spider bite.