A Vermont woman has been bitten by a black widow spider her family says was hiding in a bag of grapes.
WCAX-TV reports the 21-year-old Colchester resident spent a night at a hospital after being treated for the bite. She was released Saturday. Her health will be monitored for months.
Black widow bites can cause muscle aches and nausea and make breathing difficult but usually aren’t lethal.
The woman’s mother says she reached into a bag of grapes and the spider crawled up her arm and bit her. She says they caught the spider and took it to the hospital with them.
Shaw’s supermarket in Colchester sold the grapes. It says it’s inspecting produce in stores and contacting suppliers to make sure their products are safe.
A similar incident happened this week in Michigan, when a woman discovered a black widow spider hiding in a bag of seedless red grapes purchased at a local Kroger. The grapes were a product of Mexico. Experts say that it’s not uncommon to find spiders and other insects in store-bought produce. As suppliers cut down on pesticide use, incidents like this could become more frequent.
According to Linda Bogdanow, foodborne disease epidemiologist at the Salt Lake Valley Health Department, no fresh produce from the store is “ready to eat.”
But insect bites are the least of your concerns — that’s because the soil and water in which fruits and vegetables grow can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, shigella, cyclospora, E. coli, campylobacter, and toxoplasma. Fruits and vegetables also get dirty from being transported to warehouses and being squeezed in supermarkets.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that you always wash your produce before cooking or eating, regardless if you plan to peel it or not. Unwashed fruits and vegetables are now responsible for more large-scale outbreaks of food-borne illnesses than meat, poultry or eggs.