Rat’s Foot in Garlic Bread Sparks Nationwide Recall and Food Safety Concerns

March 26, 2024

Foodstuffs, a prominent supermarket chain, in New Zealand, has issued a nationwide recall of a particular brand of garlic bread following a disturbing complaint from a customer. The incident, which occurred at a Pak’nSave outlet in Te Awamutu, has sparked concerns about food safety and hygiene standards across various supermarkets in New Zealand.

Response from Newzealand Food Safety Authority

Vince Arbuckle, Deputy Director-General of Food Safety at the Ministry for Primary Industries in Aotearoa, expressed confidence in the store’s food safety protocols. Arbuckle acknowledged the rarity of such incidents, emphasizing that complaints of this nature are infrequent. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Arbuckle assured the public that investigations are underway in collaboration with food businesses and their supplier to ascertain the cause. While acknowledging the various possibilities for contamination, including suppliers, bakery processes, or even occurrences within homes, Arbuckle reiterated the commitment of food businesses to prevent such incidents through rigorous hygiene practices. Emphasizing the regular inspections conducted on food businesses, Arbuckle expressed confidence in the competence of Pak’nSave Te Awamutu, a well-established entity, while underscoring the need for thorough investigation to ensure food safety standards are upheld.

A mother, Shannon Bellman, raised an alarming issue after allegedly finding a rat’s foot in a loaf of garlic bread purchased from the Te Awamutu Pak’nSave. According to her account, the rat’s foot still had fur on it when discovered, prompting immediate action from both the customer and the store management.

In response to the complaint, the Te Awamutu Pak’nSave swiftly removed the implicated batch of garlic bread from its shelves and notified the supplier. A comprehensive investigation was initiated in collaboration with relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Primary Industries and NZ Food Safety.

Consequently, Foodstuffs, the parent company, announced a recall of the affected garlic bread products from all Pak’nSave, New World, Four Square, and Gilmours & Trents stores nationwide. This proactive measure aims to address potential risks and ensure consumer safety.

This incident follows a series of similar concerns regarding rodent infestations in supermarkets across the country. In February, a Countdown store in Dunedin temporarily closed due to rat sightings in the deli section, while another Pak’nSave outlet in West Auckland faced scrutiny after a customer captured footage of a mouse inside the store.

Additionally, reports surfaced of pigeons roosting on shelves at a Grey Lynn Countdown store, raising further questions about hygiene and cleanliness standards in supermarkets.

The discovery of a rat’s foot in garlic bread has prompted Foodstuffs to take immediate action, recalling the affected products and cooperating with authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly. This incident underscores the importance of rigorous food safety measures and highlights ongoing challenges in maintaining hygiene standards within retail environments.

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