Edmonton

Cockroach found in Alpha-Getti spells frustration for Edmonton-area family

Kye Courchesne used to like spelling his name with the letters in a bowl of Alpha-Getti, but last November, the eight-year-old found something on his spoon that might have been a little harder to spell.

'I looked at it, and I put it back and went, Mom what is this?’

Kye Courchesne was chowing down on some Alpha-Getti five months ago when he spotted a big, black cockroach in his bowl. (Dwayne Courchesne)

Kye Courchesne used to like spelling his name with the letters in a bowl of Alpha-Getti.

But last November, the eight-year-old boy found something on his spoon that might have been a little harder to read.

"I was watching TV," he said, "and I was this close. And I looked at it, and I put it back and went, 'Mom what is this?'"

Turns out, it was a big, black bug.

Kye Courchesne found something on his spoon last November that really bugged him. (CBC)
The family lives on a farm near Fort Saskatchewan. They didn't know the bug was actually a cockroach until a University of Alberta professor identified it.

That's when they went to the maker of Alpha-Getti, H.J. Heinz Canada, for answers.

"I wanted an explanation," said Dwayne Courchesne, Kye's father.

He asked the company what happened, and what assurances it could offer that it wouldn't happen again.

"I said, 'My kids won't eat your product now. I want to get them back on board, so some sort of apology to them.'"

Instead, after months of emails, he received a letter from H.J. Heinz Canada that offered him $150 to release all claims against not only Heinz but its "related companies, subsidiaries divisions, affiliates, licensees and their employees." That release would have included all of his "heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns."

Courchesne refused to sign, and said a company form letter full of legal mumbo-jumbo is unacceptable.

"No explanation to anything, no accountability to anything," he said. "Just $150 bucks and sign it. I don't have any rights to anything. I can't even publish the picture."

CBC News tried to contact Heinz Canada but was told to call a vice-president with its parent company in Pittsburgh who wasn't available.

However, in an email, the company said: "Consumer safety is of the utmost importance to Heinz. And the company will launch a thorough investigation."

Dwayne Courchesne said he sent the cockroach to Heinz five months ago. As far as he is concerned, any investigation has already been completed.

For his family, gobbling up canned spaghetti used to be a regular habit. It had been the perfect, quick meal between work and taking the boys to hockey.

Now he wonders: "Does this happen all the time? I mean, maybe consumers need to know."

Has his family eaten Alpha-Getti since finding the cockroach?

Two letters. NO.

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