Lidl recalls squid over salt crystal fears

One of the affected packets of squid

Lidl is recalling packages of its Sol & Mar Squid in Sunflower Oil because of the appearance of small crystals, even though they don't pose a risk to health.

Two varieties of the squid - garlic and paprika - have been found to contain crystals of magnesium ammonium phosphate, generally known as struvite.

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And while these crystals aren't poisonous, they can, says Lidl, be mistaken for glass and 'may cause injury' - although it's not clear how, as they certainly aren't sharp enough to cause any damage. They aren't poisonous, and if eaten, are broken down harmlessly by stomach acids.

Either way, Lidl is recalling both types of the squid, which come in packs of three and have a best before date of 31 December 2023.

Struvite often occurs in canned shrimp, tuna, salmon, and other seafood products, crystallising out of the mineral-rich contents. The crystals are, though, rarely big enough to be noticeable.

When they are, they can cause panic: when they were discovered in timns of seafood in the US during the First World War, it was for a while believed that ground glass had been added by enemy agents.

The same thing happened during World War II, and in 1942 the US government was forced to issue a news release to the public assuring them that the crystals were entirely natural.

"We are occasionally contacted after people find a piece of 'glass' in tinned fish, notably salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimps, etc. This is actually a natural compound known as 'struvite' which is harmless," council food safety advice reads.

"Finding struvite is actually quite rare, despite the large volumes of fish produced each year. As yet, no procedure has been successful in preventing it happening, even the addition of polyphosphates is not 100% effective and most people do not want any more additives in food."

Customers who have one of the affected packs of squid can take the product into a store for a full refund, and can call 0370 444 1234 if they have any concerns.

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Gross discoveries in food
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Gross discoveries in food

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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