Grapes could be banned from Australian supermarkets or sold in sealed bags to prevent accidents as shoppers claim more than $100 million a year in personal injury payouts after slipping in aisles.
At least one grocery outlet has more than $50 million worth of claims on its books - up 300 per cent from 2004. Personal injury lawyers say the number of injured shoppers taking action is rising, with malfunctioning trolleys, loose rice grains and rogue grapes driving claims.
The costly trend has forced supermarkets to erect warning signs, invest in anti-slip mats and explore new ways of storing problem foods. Grapes pose the biggest hazard but other problem foods include lettuce leaves, snow peas, beans and milk.
An industry source said the value of claims at one supermarket is around $50 million annually. Leading personal injury law firm Slater & Gordon is dealing with more than 10 cases of injured supermarket shoppers each month.