A man has spoken of his disgust after he found a live locust in a bag of salad. Ian Lovejoy, of Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, realised he was holding the 3in insect after grabbing a fistful of mixed leaves from his fridge. The 78-year-old felt it move in his hand so he dropped it on to his plate, at which point it began crawling around and defecating copiously. He then picked it up again and put it in a plastic container with the bag’s remaining contents. Mr Lovejoy and his wife Ruth had bought the Florette Baby Leaf pre-mixed salad three days earlier. They ate half the previous evening but didn’t spot the creature. The couple have now returned their unexpected find to the Costco wholesaler in Reading, where they bought it, and notified the manufacturer.
Mr Lovejoy said: “We put the bag in the fridge straight away and had our first serving on Saturday night. It’s horrible to think about that now because it pooed everywhere and we were left wondering what we’d eaten.
We decided to have the rest on Sunday but when I dropped the leaves on my plate I just saw this thing in my hand. I thought, ‘what on earth is this?’. It frightened me to death and my wife was extremely upset.
I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. I could probably have coped if it was something small, like an ant, but this was more like something from the Bible.
I can’t believe it was still alive after all that time in the bag, first on the shelf and then in our fridge.
It’s worrying because the bag says the salad’s ready washed but they obviously haven’t cleaned it that well.
“It needs to be reported because Costco had a huge palletload of the stuff to sell.
I’ve told them they can put my £1 back on my account for my next visit. When the shock had passed we just had some cheese sandwiches.
I don’t think we’ll ever buy a pre-packed salad again, it’s just too off-putting. We’ll be making it from scratch from now on.”
Mr Lovejoy added: “I’d like to think the locust might go to an insect expert who can find a use for it.”
Locusts are a type of grasshopper that periodically swarm and can devastate large areas of crops.
They are usually found in Australia, Africa, Asia and the Middle East as well as warmer parts of Europe and North America.
The insects are considered a delicacy in some countries, where they are smoked, fried and dried.
They contain up to five times more protein per gram than beef.
It is believed that the type found in Mr Lovejoy’s salad is an Egyptian grasshopper as these have characteristic vertical stripes on their eyes.
Despite the name, the species also lives in southern Europe.
A Florette spokeswoman said: “Since being made aware of this issue by Mr and Mrs Lovejoy, a full traceability investigation has been under way.
We have extensive washing and inspection processes in place as well as procedures to prevent foreign bodies from reaching our bagged salads.
However, with all naturally sourced products, incidences such as this, while very rare, can occur.
We are liaising with the customers regarding this issue and have apologised for any distress caused.”