UK – You have probably heard tales of an amputated finger found in a bowl of chili and perhaps about the mouse found in a cola bottle. These stories may sound questionable, but when Sarah Woolsey opened her baby son’s favorite food she was not prepared for what she found inside. Inside the can of Heinz strawberry cheesecake she was stunned to discover a lump of white and green mold.
Sarah, age 27, of Middleton, England, was about to pour the baby food on to six-month-old Alfie’s plate when she spotted the mold. She said, “I don’t think it’s acceptable – particularly as it is baby food. It was quite a shock. I almost tipped it into his bowl without realizing.” She also acknowledged her fears about mold by saying, “It’s lucky he didn’t eat it, otherwise it could have made him really ill. I hate to think what would have happened if I had fed it to him.”
Sarah, who also has a three-year-old daughter, Sadie with her husband Stephen, bought the baby food from the Boots Pharmacy Bretton Centre on Tuesday afternoon. Alfie had to try a different brand of baby food while Sarah attempted to phone Heinz. She said that she phoned them that same evening and again on Wednesday morning and that they had offered her vouchers. But she soon realized a nonchalance attitude towards the situation and explained, “They didn’t seem interested at all. They offered me vouchers, but that isn’t much good to me as I’m not going to be buying the food anymore.” This comes as no surprise since many companies try to downplay the severe health effects of mold, either by from airborne spores or ingesting moldy food.
A spokesperson from Heinz said, “Heinz takes this type of situation very seriously, and we are keen to investigate Sarah Woolsey’s complaint. We have asked Ms. Woolsey to return the product, and she is doing this via her local Environmental Health Officer. Once we have received the product, we will then be able to carry out a full investigation.” A spokeswoman from Peterborough City Council’s Environmental Health Office said, “I can confirm we have received a complaint which we are currently investigating.”
Some molds contain Aflatoxin, which is a well-known potent human carcinogen. It is a naturally occurring toxic metabolite produced by certain fungi found on food products such as corn and peanuts, peanut butter. It acts as a potent liver carcinogen in rodents and humans. They are probably the best known and most intensively researched mycotoxins in the world. Aflatoxins have been associated with various serious diseases, in livestock, domestic animals and humans throughout the world.