Nfld. & Labrador

Bugs for breakfast: Arnold's Cove woman finds 'gross' surprise in Quaker oatmeal

Lori Hollett was half way through her bowl of Quaker oatmeal before she noticed the cereal was full of tiny bugs.

Son says the rest of the two pound bag of Quaker oats was infested as well

Creepy, crawly oatmeal

7 years ago
Duration 0:24
Greg Hollett of Clarenville says he discovered dozens of bugs in his bag of Quaker oatmeal on Tuesday.

It's not uncommon to want a dose of protein with your breakfast, but one woman in Arnold's Cove got more than most people can handle. 

Lori Hollett was in the middle of her usual morning routine Tuesday, with an oatmeal breakfast that she enjoys every day. 

About half way through her bowl, Hollett noticed something that wasn't supposed to be there. Small, black spots speckled throughout her cereal. They were bugs. 

She didn't notice right away because they blended into the oatmeal. Fortunately for her, the bugs she consumed had been killed by the boiling water she had used to cook the cereal.

Her son, Greg Hollett, said they checked the rest of the two-pound bag and it was alive with the insects. 

'Not really acceptable'

"I could see little bugs moving around, so I took a strainer and strained all the oats out, and tried to get as many bugs as I could out of it," he said. "There were quite a few for a two-pound bag." 

She really didn't know what to say besides, 'yuck and gross and disgusting   - Greg Hollett

Hollett said the bag was purchased at Costco in St. John's only a few days before his mother ate the bugs. 

"At the time, she really didn't know what to say besides, 'yuck and gross and disgusting,'" he said. "For a big company like that, it's not really acceptable."

Hollett said he still has the bugs stored in a container. 

"I'm planning on calling the brand and letting them know what I found, so other people will have a head's up." 

The bugs appear to be grain beetles. As the name suggests, their diet focuses on grains. They commonly feed on cereals and flours.

It's not clear whether the bugs were in the bag before it was purchased, or if they found their way in afterwards. 

Company response

A spokesperson from Quaker responded to the incident saying they take this very seriously. 

"The quality of our products is our highest priority and we have extensive processes in place to ensure that pests to not enter our products within our supply chain," the company spokesperson said. 

"We would like to speak with the consumer to get more information about the product, its expiry, and where it was purchased so we can conduct a full investigation." 

CBC also contacted Costco, whose spokesperson said has already taken the remaining products off of their shelves to investigate further. 

Because of its membership program, Costco can check if the remaining batch numbers correspond to Hollett's purchased bag. It can then check if the bugs were a batch-wide problem, or just in the single bag. 

Its goal is to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.