Florida woman says canned ravioli contained spider?

Victoria Jean Harrah sat down around noon Wednesday to eat a freshly grilled ham and cheese sandwich with her fiance when she decided to warm up a plate of her favorite canned ravioli.

But instead of saucy goodness, the 48-year-old Mims, Fla., woman said she got a crunchy mouthful of what she described as a hairy-legged spider tucked into a pocket of pasta.

"I spit it up…I screamed, rinsed my mouth out and I must have brushed my teeth till my teeth hurt," said Harrah, who claims to have found the surprise in a can of Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli.

Harrah is hoping a representative of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will evaluate the remnants of the meal to determine just what was stuffed in with the meat-filled pasta swimming in tomato sauce.

Harrah also called ConAgra, the food conglomerate that produces name-brand goods including kosher hot dogs and popcorn, to report chomping on the unappetizing find.

"They told me it was a figment of my imagination, the woman on the phone said they have people who call all the time and that it was just a piece of meat," Harrah said.

"But this was a spider. You can see its legs. It’s in the middle of the noodle, it’s got eyeballs and big hairy legs. Now I love Chef Boyardee, I thought it was the best ever. I would buy 20 cans a week for 30 years. But will I eat it again? Not in this lifetime."

ConAgra officials say the company is reviewing the woman’s claims.


Spider found at Tulsa Whole Foods

An employee at Whole Foods Market in Tulsa, OK, recently caught a spider (below) roaming in the produce section.

The director of animal facilities at the University of Tulsa, Terry Childs, thought it to be a Brazilian wandering spider, or banana spider, which is considered to be the most deadly spider in the world. Childs said the spider likely came to the store in a bunch of bananas from Honduras.

A manager at the store said employees check the produce for spiders and insects, and believes that’s why the spider was discovered before it left the store.

Whole Foods said in a later statement,

"We take every precaution to inspect all of our produce as it arrives in the store and prior to it being merchandised on the sales floor. This incident is an extremely unusual circumstance, and one that we’ve never encountered before. We are confident that this will remain an isolated incident as we are very cautious when unpacking produce for our sales floor."

I can’t find this statement, so I’m not sure if the entire thing is so defensive and impersonal. I wonder whether the store or chain ever said sorry for the scare, or that they were glad no one got hurt.

Granted, the situation may not have been as dire as was first believed. The curator of aquariums and herpetology at the Tulsa Zoo, Barry Downer, saw video and photos of the spider (who has now been destroyed) and thinks it may have been a Huntsman spider—an arachnid that is harmless to humans.

Regardless of its true identity, the spider was perceived as a threat to shoppers and Whole Foods would do well to recognize that.

If anybody finds their statement, I’d love to check it out: casey.jo.jacob@gmail.com, or comment here for all to enjoy.