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article imageBlack widows found on supermarket grapes in several states

By Angela Atkinson     Nov 25, 2013 in Food
Yvonne Whalen was washing red grapes in her kitchen Thursday afternoon when she felt something strange. She looked down, only to spot a long black spider leg coming up over one of the grapes—followed by its body.
After overcoming the seemingly natural urge to kill the spider, she captured it. Later, she said, she found an second spider dead in the grapes, and that’s when the Pennsylvania woman decided to let the grocery store know what she’d found.
"A customer alerted us yesterday that she found a black widow spider in grapes she had purchased from our Dillsburg store," said Chris Brand, a spokesman for the store, in a statement. "We will continue to diligently inspect product both at our perishable distribution center and at the store while thoroughly investigating this serious matter with our suppliers."
Whalen will receive a gift card for her trouble, according to the representative.
And according to a Food Safety News report, Whalen isn’t the first to find black widows among her grapes. In fact, the supermarket chain Aldi has pulled its entire stock of grapes from its Milwaukee, WI stores after a shopper found a live black widow in a container of red grapes—and similar cases have been reported in recent months in Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota.
Three customers complained of finding black windows in their grapes back in the early 2000 in the U.K., and at that time, the grape grower reportedly said that it had been using spiders as an alternative to pesticides.
And though the black widow is the most venomous spider in North America, it only kills about one percent of the people it bites. Then again, small kids and elderly people are more susceptible than others to the venom.
What to do if you encounter a black widow
Black widows are easily identified by their long, shiny black legs and a red hourglass mark on their abdomens. If you see one, you shouldn’t handle it. Experts recommend that you capture it and set it free outside. They aren’t aggressive, but if they feel threatened, they will bite in self-defense.
If you have bitten by a black widow, you may experience nausea, muscle aches and difficulty breathing. If you think you’ve been bitten by a black widow, you should apply ice to the area and seek medical attention immediately.
More about Black widow spider, Red grapes, Warnings, Spider bite
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