Green grasshopper winds up in Toronto woman's salad

A Toronto woman was part-way through her lunchtime salad when something in the container moved: a grasshopper that had stowed away in her pre-washed salad greens.

Manpreet Athwal encourages others to wash their salad greens before meals

Manpreet Athwal was shocked to find this green grasshopper among the greens in her pre-washed salad. (CBC)

A Toronto woman was part-way through her lunchtime salad when something in the container moved.

It was a large grasshopper, as green as the salad leaves around it. It was alive. And for Manpreet Athwal: "that really freaks me out."

Athwal said she has no idea how the grasshopper made it into the package of Fresh Attitude pre-washed field greens that she bought at a Woodbridge, Ont., Walmart. But the idea that the insect was hiding inside a salad she served to her entire family disgusts her.

"Just unbelievable," she said. 

The grasshopper is clearly resilient, having survived not only the trip to the grocery store but also a dousing of dressing, as unbeknownst to Athwal she'd mixed him into her tuna and egg salad. Upon closer inspection, she said the grasshopper appears to have lost a back leg at some point.

It's not the first time this has happened in the GTA. Last May, a beetle turned up in another woman's organic salad, prompting an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

She said her family plans to keep the grasshopper alive for as long as possible.

When asked how she thought the grasshopper made it into the greens, Athwal said: "that's not my job. Let them figure that out."

Walmart refunded Athwal for the purchase, but she kept the insect to prove her story.

On its website, Quebec-based Fresh Attitude says its field greens are grown in Florida and Quebec and undergo a thorough washing before being packaged. "All our salad mixes are carefully pre-washed," the company said.

Athwal said she thinks it could have happened to any pre-packaged salad brand, and said she'll be more careful to pick through her greens in the future. 

Her message to other shoppers: "Even if it says washed please make sure you wash it."


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