A disgusted mum-of-two slammed Tesco after allegedly finding a used condom in a packet of kale she served at dinner.
Chrissie Gilbert had bought the trendy superfood to accompany her family’s evening meal of sausage and potatoes at the beginning of March.
She served generous portions to her husband Paul, 35, and two young sons Robin, six, and three-year-old Sam.
The following day she grabbed a handful of the leafy veg to give to her two guinea pigs Bubble and Squeak and claims to have discovered the "stained" contraceptive aid lying among the leaves.
The mum claims she was forced to visit a nurse to see if a full STI screening was necessary.
But she says medics assured her the chance of infection was minimal.
An investigation by manufacturer Emmett UK, who supply Tesco with curly kale, confirmed the item was an ‘intact used’ condom but concluded it could not have survived the harvesting and manufacturing process and the kale was ‘contaminated post purchase’.
Chrissie, from Lincoln, said: “We’d had the kale with a meal the night before and had some left over in the packet.
“I chucked a handful of leaves into the guinea pigs’ cage in the morning and in among them there was this condom.
“I just stood there for ages looking at it wondering what it was and ridiculously picked it up to look.
“I dropped it when I realised what it was then used kitchen roll to pick it back up.
“You could tell it was used as it looked a bit stained.
“I immediately felt quite sick and worried as we’d eaten a portion of the kale the night before and it was there among the leaves.”
Chrissie, 38, photographed the item and sent it via recorded delivery to Tesco customer services who launched an investigation.
Six weeks later Chrissie received a three-page report back from Emmett UK which confirmed it was a used condom which had two dark hairs attached to it.
But due to the nature of how kale grows, how it is harvested in addition to the washing and slicing process at the factory, Emmett UK claim it was contaminated post purchase.
The company also claim that it is ‘highly unlikely’ that Chrissie was a victim of malicious contamination due to their ‘highly trained and committed happy workforce’.
Chrissie said: “I was sent a report from the supplier which was really insulting. In their opinion it was added post purchase – so either me or my husband, who’s a health and safety assistant, added it.
“Do they think we haven’t got anything better to do than put a used condom in kale ourselves? I was incredulous when I got that response.
“I know some people might do something as ludicrous as that but not us.
“They acknowledged it was a used condom with hairs attached to it – they could be pubic hairs or hairs from the guinea pigs’ cage.
“The report said it was ‘highly unlikely’ it was contaminated during the manufacturing process. It might well be very unlikely but it happened, it’s come from somewhere.”
Although Chrissie did not ingest the condom she was concerned about the health implications of eating the veg surrounding it.
Chrissie said: “Knowing that I’ve eaten food that’s likely to have touched it makes me feel very sick and anxious.
“I don’t know what that person who wore it had, had they got any diseases?
“My sons could have eaten it. It was on their plate but luckily they didn’t touch it, but there’s that worry at the back of my head that they’ve eaten some of it.
“My husband and I spent the whole evening feeling really sick.
“I don’t even like kale, it just eat it because it’s healthy.”
An Emmett UK spokesperson said: “Every day we harvest, shred (using a four blade slicer) then sieve and thoroughly wash and pack 40,000 bags of kale.
“To ensure that the kale reaches the customer in excellent condition there are multiple stringent quality control checks throughout.
“This process involves the extremely thorough automated washing, drying and packing of the kale into bags which are then sealed by machine.
“During the process optical graders are also used to help detect foreign objects.
“We take customer feedback very seriously and as soon as we were made aware of the complaint we initiated a full investigation.
“From this we concluded that the item could not have survived our rigorous quality processes.
“We are very sorry that Mrs Gilbert is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation.”
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We have extremely high standards for the products we put on our shelves, and our growers work hard to inspect our salads carefully.
“Our supplier has investigated this case fully and found that this foreign object would not have remained unidentified or survived the harvesting, washing and slicing processes the product goes through before the bag is sealed.
“We are sorry if Mrs Gilbert is not happy with the conclusion of the investigation, we would be very happy to discuss this with her further if she wishes.”
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