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Wednesday, 20 November, 2002, 17:01 GMT
Deadly spider found in grapes
Black Widow Spider
The spider's venom is more potent than a rattlesnake
A family have told of their horror at finding a black widow spider in a bunch of supermarket grapes.

Experts said the deadly arachnid was probably killed in Noelle Bolzern's fridge at her home in Southport, Merseyside.

She spotted the dead creature while she washed the Californian grapes, which were bought from Tesco, in Kew, Southport.

She thought it was a normal house spider but her husband Ron noticed the distinctive red hour-glass shape on its underside when he threw it out.


It is awful to think one of my children could have put their hand inside the bag and got bitten

Noelle Bolzern

The family contacted staff at the Liverpool Museum who confirmed the spider was a black widow.

It is the second time a black widow spider has been found recently in grapes bought from Tesco.

One was found in Wimborne, Dorset, last month.

Mrs Bolzern said she wanted to warn shoppers about the potential dangers of fruit shopping.

The mother-of-two said: "Although the spider was dead when I found it, we were told it was in good condition and may have only been killed in the cold by my fridge.

Black Widow Spider
Black Widows have a distinctive red hourglass mark

"I was horrified when I found out it was a black widow.

"It is awful to think one of my children could have put their hand inside the bag and got bitten."

She added: "I contacted Tesco and they took it rather lightly. The woman told me it was dead so it couldn't hurt me."

A Tesco spokesman said spiders were used instead of pesticides on grapes to combat insects.

He added: "Safety is our top priority and we have a rigorous checking process in countries which produce our fruit.

"We apologise to the family concerned and we will be talking to the producer in California to ensure procedures are being followed."


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See also:

08 Oct 02 | England
21 Sep 01 | UK
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