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Potted ‘reptile’: The added ‘extra’ in our Sabra houmous | Money

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I found what looked like a weird foreign body or small reptile (it even had veins!) in some Sabra Houmous Extra I bought in early July at my local Sainsbury’s but I can’t get anyone to help me. It was about 15cm long and 1cm thick. The pot is still in my freezer along with the original packaging as I thought, if I got ill after eating it, I might need it. It is branded Sabra but looks, from the label, as though it is made (and imported) by a company called Yarden. Sainsbury’s then said it wanted the pot back but I thought it would be best to keep it. Any idea how I can find someone who can take responsibility for it or at least look at what it might be?

KP, Hertfordshire

We looked at your photos and (assuming they had not been doctored) agree it looked very suspect – and revolting! Under the law you have the right to be sold food that is of satisfactory quality. So we advised you to go back to Sainsbury’s to complain and demand an investigation – and some compensation.

In the worst-case scenario, Sainsbury’s could also be guilty of a criminal offence for selling food that is unfit for human consumption. You should therefore report it to your local environmental health department or trading standards at your local council (though the latter is notoriously strapped for cash).

After our intervention, Sainsbury’s wrote to you to say that it had sent the product to the manufacturer to carry out a thorough investigation. Its executive office then advised that the “foreign body” was vegetable fibre which had expanded during the manufacturing process.

It also sought to reassure you “there have been no other issues with this product and the manufacturer will ensure this does not happen again”.

Sainsbury’s says it has “apologised for this unpleasant find and offered a gesture of goodwill”.

We gather this amounts to £50-worth of Nectar points which, in our view, is not overly generous.

We welcome letters but cannot answer individually. Email us at [email protected] or write to Consumer Champions, Money, the Guardian, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Please include a daytime phone number. Submission and publication of all letters is subject to our terms and conditions



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