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Queensland shopper shocked by snake in spuds

March 27, 2015

A woman in Queensland got more than she had bargained for out of her Woolworths purchase this month, when she found a snake sleeping in her bag of potatoes.

Lewina Stewart from Toowoomba, Queensland, noticed the unwelcome visitor among her vegetables as she was preparing to make a meal.She informed officials that she had bought the spuds from her local Woolworths on the 10th of March unaware of the free snake hidden within.

The shocked shopper quickly shared her experience on social media, posting a photo of the sly serpent, alongside a status exclaiming, “This is NOT what you want to find when cooking tea”.

Identifying the intruder

A picture of the reptile was delivered to a snake catcher on the Sunshine Coast – Richie Gilbert – who quickly informed the press that it was a 30cm white crowned snake. After identifying the species, Gilbert reassured concerned parties that although the white crowned snake is mildly venomous, it is not considered to be dangerous to humans.

Ms Stewart discovered the snake while it was still alive and well, and quickly informed the staff members at her local Woolworths. According to Mr Gilbert, because the packet was sealed, the snake must have found its way into the contents of the bag before it had been processed for sale. Although there were some small holes throughout the packaging – none were big enough for the snake to enter through.

Woolworths are conducting investigations

Woolworths have announced that they will be conducting further investigations into the shocking incident and are taking the matter very seriously in their quest to find out what went wrong during packaging procedures.

Unfortunately, this is not the first food safety related issue that Woolworths has suffered in recent months. In fact, the incident comes soon after the discovery of redback spiders within green grapes sold by the superstore. A mother in Thornleigh found a spider in her Thompson seedless grapes, while another man found two redbacks in the grapes he bought from a Gold Coast Woolworths.

A further woman in Auckland, New Zealand, uncovered a redback spider in a bag of grapes that had been imported from Australia and sold in the Countdown supermarket chain owned by Woolworths, less than a month ago.

Redback spiders are a significant concern, as the female bite is capable of causing serious illness and even death. Usually, humans are very unlikely to be bitten, as these spiders stay primarily in their nests. However, if Woolworths are helping to deliver the creatures to their customers’ kitchens, the danger levels could rise severely.