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Electrician's shock at finding live moth in pack of supermarket-bought semolina

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: October 25, 2010

Jan Bogusz says he found a bug in a packet of Whitworths Semolina.

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AN electrician says he was 'shocked' to find a live moth and its empty chrysalis inside a packet of semolina.

Jan Bogusz, of Ermine East, told the Echo he discovered the moth flapping its wings in an agitated fashion after his daughter opened a new packet of Whitworths Semolina.

Initially thought to be some kind of winged beetle, Mr Bogusz believes the 1cm creature, complete with its hibernating shell, was sealed inside the clear plastic packaging before being boxed up and sent for sale, possibly while it was still a tiny egg.

Whitworths has now apologised to Mr Bogusz, but added the "highest standards" of quality control are put in place with all its products.

"I heard my daughter screaming that there was something in the semolina, but I never expected it to be anything like this," said Mr Bogusz, an electrician.

"I don't believe that it got in there after being packed up; there are no holes in the bag. I was amazed it was alive.

"I'm not after any kind of compensation and I don't want to have some Whitworths products sent over to me, I just thought it was something that needed bringing to people's attention."

Mr Bogusz says he discovered the moth on Wednesday last week. The semolina had been bought at Asda two months previously, but never opened.

Whitworths spokesman Martin Jackson said the product was going to be investigated.

"We would like to thank Mr Bogusz for bringing this matter to our attention and apologise for any inconvenience caused," he said.

"We apply the very highest standards of quality control throughout all our production processes and, assuming that this matter be traced back to us, will immediately look into how an isolated incident of this nature could have occurred.

"We are taking this matter extremely seriously and have called the product Mr Bogusz purchased in for investigation."

Experts from Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust examining photographs confirmed it is a rice moth – something which is partial to any dried food and often found in imported goods.

Rachel Shaw from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said: "The insect pictured is a rice moth Corcyra cephalonica.

"The caterpillars of these moths feed on a wide variety of things including stored foods such as grain, flour and cereals. It's always a good idea to keep food in well sealed containers to ensure you don't get them in your pantry.

"It may have occurred in this case, by accidently getting into the food as an egg or caterpillar."

Asda were unavailable for comment.

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  • Profile image for This is Lincolnshire
    Wolf, Lincoln  |  October 26 2010, 8:01AM

    I was going to add a belated comment, but Mr P Staker and Weevil have summed it up for me. Thank you guys.

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    Mr P Staker, Lincoln  |  October 26 2010, 12:28AM

    Indeed - I wonder if Mandy from Ermine and Mandy from Birchwood are indeed one in the same? I abhor the usage of text speak in anything other than texts, and also in texts. Mandy - I don't think anyone cares what particular traumas you and your predictably large family have been through. I'm sure the foreign body found in your children's breakfasts of Cheese Strings caused excessive alarm to interrupt your morning viewing of Jeremy Kyle. Despite being a convenient way of you keeping up to date of your family's activities. As far as having some concern about our "enviroment" - I hardly see the relevance between the discovery of a natural foreign body and concern for the environment? Salient points obviously aren't key to you. I still maintain that these are the dirtiest fingernails I have ever seen - certainly shouldn't warrant a close-up.

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    weevil, In my weevil home  |  October 25 2010, 10:55PM

    'Mandy', you seemed to have forgotten where you live? Looking at the grammar in your rant though brings me to the conclusion that you could live in either of these two areas. It was a moth in a packet of food. So what? Get over it and get on with your life, just be grateful you can walk around the corner to a shop and buy food instead of having to trek miles on end to accept handouts from relief agencies, not knowing when they will visit again. Sometimes we don't realise how lucky we are!

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    mandy, birchwood  |  October 25 2010, 10:31PM

    these comments are pathetic, i just hope one day it dont happen to many of you, i symppathise wirth this family as i have had an experience myself with another matter, yes it does happen, not every one out there con the system. Have some concern about our enviroment

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    mandy, ermine  |  October 25 2010, 10:10PM

    I cant believe how pathetic some people are in this day in age, having experienced something similar myself, this can be quite alarming for the family, yes some people might do it for the compensation,good luck to them, let them live with the guilt, But for the families that has suffered the alarm or stress from foriegn bodies being found in our food, its shocking,!!! these factories where our foods processed should be cleansed to the hiighest standards, obviously they r not, if u knew what you were eating every day i dont think half of us would eat what we do, obviously there has been an egg hatched somewhere in the work place and these r common in this sort of food, such small minded people in this day in age, i hope u dont have to experience what this familys gone through or what happened to me years ago,

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    Weevil, In my weevil home  |  October 25 2010, 6:03PM

    I bet you're a great laugh on a night out Colin.

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    Colin Mair, Coningsby  |  October 25 2010, 5:10PM

    The stored product insects which love to live on these products are always getting into the system, especially in hot countries. A continuous battle is fought to control these problems without using pesticides which could contaminate the food, and industry is so good at keeping these creatues at bay that this sort of incident is a once in a blue moon event and makes news. It was only 40 years ago that almost all flour and similar products would go 'weevily' when stored for too long. In fact bakers who won the national bread competitions would put a sack of flour to one side until it had gone 'weevily', then they considered it mature enough to make the bread, sieving out the weevils first of course. Note that we do unwittingly eat a lot of insect fragments and bits of rodent hair every day with no harm done. Wheat grains trap cornflies in the crease, for instance, and bits of cornfly can easily be found in wheat flour, but are so small a microscope is needed to see them. The USA has designated a 'Filth Test' for determining the acceptable levels of insect fragments and rodent hairs in food, and food with less than 40 insect fragments and 4 rodent hairs per pound (454gms) is considered 'clean'. I think we are trying to create the illusion of an increasingly sterile and 'clean' world, which is not always a good thing, though I do of course sympathise with the family who found a moth in the smolina. In my early days as a flour miller we used to say that the insects were a good source of protein!

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    Mr P Staker, Lincoln  |  October 25 2010, 11:51AM

    Hopefully he will get some compensation and be able to invest in a bar of soap and a nailbrush.

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    Phil, Lincoln  |  October 25 2010, 11:07AM

    What, no cracks about it being a "bogusz" story yet?

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    halibut, Lincoln  |  October 25 2010, 9:23AM

    "I just thought it was something that needed bringing to people's attention." Well, thank you. I will certainly sleep easier tonight knowing that one packet of semolina out of millions at one point had an undetectable tiny egg in it.