A Kenora family got more than it bargained for in a bag of grapes bought at a local grocery store. The fruit came with a black widow spider.
Northwestern Health Unit Public health inspector Kurtis Casey said he was skeptical when the spider was brought in — so he did some research.
According to information found on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s web site, it's becoming more common to find black widow spiders in imported table grapes, especially during the fall harvesting season for grapes imported from California.
Chilling makes spiders dormant
Spiders typically hang out around grape vineyards and eat insect pests that are found on grapes.
"The presence of spiders does not damage or poison the grapes," the agency’s web site said.
"Some spiders may camouflage with the grape vines and escape the attention of the farm worker. Grapes are also chilled prior to being transported. The chilling causes spiders to become dormant and immobile, making their way to retailers and consumers' homes."
Casey said he was "extremely surprised and excited in some sense but nervous in the other. Just the whole safety thing and people's food and what they're consuming."
He said the spider is dead now, but it will be offered to the Manitoba zoo. If the zoo doesn’t take it, the arachnid may be preserved and displayed at the local health unit.