A pregnant woman living in Dubai got more than she bargained for when she found moths inside her unopened box of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes.
Seresh, 30, was about to tuck into her favourite breakfast cereal when she noticed movement inside the unopened plastic bag.
The first time mum-to-be was stunned to find a number of moths crawling around within the packaging.
She also noticed cobwebs and a “terrible smell” emanating from the box.
“I started screaming when I saw them as I have a phobia of moths,” said Seresh, who asked that her surname be withheld.
“It caused me to be violently sick because I am pregnant. You don’t expect to see moths coming out of your breakfast cereal.”
Seresh was at home with her husband in Dubai Marina when she opened the box last week.
The administrative worker, originally from Buckinghamshire in the UK, is four months pregnant and has always loved cereal for breakfast.
On this occasion though, her first meal of the day took an unexpected turn. She described the experience as “disgusting” and claimed the response from Kellogg’s, the cereal’s manufacturer, was poor.
“My husband took the box off me and we looked at it but couldn’t find any broken seals,” she said. “We couldn’t see how they got in.
“Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes were the only thing I would eat for breakfast. When I opened the box I noticed cobwebs and there was a terrible smell.”
Seresh said she had been in contact with Kellogg’s and Carrefour, where she had bought the cereal.
She said Carrefour had assured her they had checked other boxes of the cereal to ensure no others had been contaminated. Kellogg’s also offered her four free boxes of the cereal by way of an apology.
“They [Kellogg’s] offered me four boxes of cereal to make up for what had happened,” she said.
“I explained that I really didn’t want more boxes of cereal after the last one I bought made me sick because of the moths. Then they offered me boxes of Pringles instead.
“I contacted them again to see what they were doing to follow up on it (the incident) but they haven’t got back to me yet.
“Being pregnant, I definitely thought they would have handled it a bit better and at least ask me if I was okay instead of just saying ‘here are some Pringles.’”
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A spokeswoman for the Emirati multinational Majid Al Futtaim, franchise owner of Carrefour in the Middle East, confirmed the company had received a complaint regarding the presence of insects inside a cereal box.
“Carrefour UAE immediately launched an investigation and has reported the issue to the manufacturer,” she said.
“A specialist team was dispatched to conduct random sample tests on other items at the same store and we can confirm no evidence of any foreign bodies was found.”
The firm added that Carrefour had offered Seresh a full refund and apologised for the incident. The species of moth found inside the packaging has yet to be identified.
“The company thanks the customer in question for reporting her concern and seeks to reassure her and other customers that appropriate follow-up actions have been taken,” Majid Al Futtaim said.
Lamia Fakhr, corporate affairs director for Kellogg’s Middle East, said the company would be collecting the cereal box from Sereshto investigate how the moths came to be inside the packaging.
“We source our product from Europe and by the time it reaches the market in the UAE there are lots of stops,” she said.
It is not the first time that customers have found insects inside a Kellogg’s cereal box.
The company announced in July this year that it was changing the packaging of its breakfast cereals in Singapore after a woman found maggots, a moth and cobwebs inside a box of Special K.
In that instance, the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore found a “weakened seal” in the packaging may have opened during distribution along the supply chain.