Doughnut mistake poisons Co-op customers

Close-up of a young woman's hand holding a doughnut to her mouth

Shoppers at the Oswestry branch of Co-operative Food were left with serious bouts of sickness, after eating jam and custard doughnuts that had been tainted with cleaning fluid.

According to The Daily Mirror one family, from Wrexham in North Wales were struck down by sickness and diarrhoea, while a woman from Oswestry complained that she felt the roof of her mouth had been burned by the doughnuts, which 'tasted like Detol'.

She took the rest of the doughnuts back to the store, and after the assistant manager tasted one, they were cleared from the shelves.

Environmental health officers were called, and they found that doughnuts sold by the store last Monday contained a cleaning fluid. On further investigation they concluded that the baking trays used for the doughnuts had been left soaking in cleaning fluid for too long, and during baking the fluid had transferred to the doughnuts.
The store told the Mirror: "The matter has been thoroughly investigated and an isolated issue regarding the correct cleaning process for our oven trays was identified. This has now been addressed." It added: "We are committed to offering consistently high-quality products and service and, we are sorry that this product fell short of those expectations."

What are your rights?

Fortunately, this kind of mistake is very rare, and most people will never face the horror of being unwell after eating something they bought in a shop. If it does happen to you, however, you have certain rights.

The first step is to decide how you want things to be resolved. If you just want your money back - or a replacement - then the easiest option is usually to take it back to the shop where you bought it, and ask. In order to get this, there will need to be some of the original item left.

If it is more important to you that the store is held to account, then you may want to report it to environmental health, who may investigate. If this is the case, you will need to hang onto the food, including foreign bodies and any packaging, in case you need it as evidence.

If the food has given you food poisoning, and you want to pursue a case for compensation from the shop or the food manufacturer, you will need to get a letter from your doctor confirming your illness is the result of food poisoning, then contact whoever manufactured the food with the letter, a sample of the item, and an explanation that you expect compensation.

In some instances they will be concerned enough about the incident to make you an offer. If they are not forthcoming, or if the offer is lower than you were expecting, you will need to get legal advice to see whether it is worth pursuing this further.

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Doughnut mistake poisons Co-op customers

In April last year, a couple from Preston were carving the chicken for their roast dinner, when they discovered it was green inside.

They returned it to Morrisons, which said it was green because of bile from the gall bladder, which hadn’t been removed properly. The company apologised and offered him £15 to make up for the nasty surprise.

This October, 25-year-old Hasan Ali from West Yorkshire, broke open a Sainsbury’s Mandarin orange, to discover a maggot and hundreds of eggs inside.

He Tweeted a picture to the store, and received an apology and a £10 gift card.

Last October, Eleri Adkins, a 29-year-old expectant mother, was shocked to discover a white object growing in her vinegar, which she told the press looked like it had a head.

She returned the bottle to Tesco, which said it was a harmless substance produced when the natural bacteria in the vinegar reacted with oxygen in the air. She received an apology and a bunch of flowers.

In January this year, Mollie Howe, an 11-year-old from Dagenham, discovered six inch-long nails in her takeaway chicken meal.

The owner of the takeaway said he didn't know how they had got there, as there were no nails of that type in the shop. However, he offered to replace the food.

Jason Damms, a 41-year-old warehouse manager from West Malling in Kent, was shocked when a centipede crawled out of the middle of a pile of rice in his Tesco curry ready meal last October.

He was particularly shocked, given that it had just been in the microwave.

Malika Carrington, a nine-year-old schoolgirl from Longsight in Greater Manchester, was horrified to discover a maggot in her bowl of of Asda chicken noodles.

Her mother returned it to the shop where she received a 25p refund, and a 25p goodwill payment. She wasn’t impressed.


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