A vegetarian mother-of-two from Barnham said she was ‘totally disgusted’ by a bag of rice containing what appeared to be ‘flesh’ that she bought from Tesco in Littlehampton.
On August 24, Sophie Holden bought a pouch of the microwaveable basmati rice from the superstore in Broad Piece, Wick, and cooked it while making dinner for her partner and four-year-old.
When she opened the packet, she was confronted with black and brown stains and what she described as a piece of ‘something resembling flesh’ nestled inside the rice.
She said: “I was totally disgusted with what I found inside the pouch with the rice.
“I had already tried a small amount to see if it was cooked. I was literally retching.”
Repulsed, Sophie said she contacted Tesco and was told to return the bag to be sent off for testing, so took it to her local store in Shripney Road, Bognor Regis.
She waited to find out the results of the test – but claimed she had to call up again.
She said: “The call centre operative told me that it was probably just a weevil and that the pouch of rice that I had taken into a store as advised never made it to them and may have been thrown out, in which case nothing could be done.”
She spoke to the customer services manager at the Bognor Tesco, who found the rice in their holding freezer.
But she said it still had to be sent back to the manufacturer in India to be tested and ‘could take up to 8 weeks’.
“Surely Tesco should have their own facilities for testing food items,” she said.
A Tesco spokesperson said: “We are sorry that this happened and have apologised to Sophie. Investigations confirm that the substance that she found was mould.
“This can happen when packaging gets damaged in transit. It is very rare as we have strict quality assurance processes in place to detect damaged products.”
However, Sophie still stuck by her claims, saying the item in the bag looked ‘pink and fleshy’.
She said she received a letter of apology and a £5 voucher, which she described as ‘unacceptable’.