CFIA analysis finds 'plant material' consistent with lentil stock was found in soup purchased at Regina Costco

In an aim to eat more organic fare, Regina’s Chris Parsons decided to try out a new soup brand but ended up getting more nature in his food than he hoped for.

CFIA investigation found no 'food safety risk'

When trying out a new soup he purchased from Costco recently, Regina's Chris Parsons said he discovered at least four wood chips. (Sprague Foods on Facebook/Chris Parsons)

Latest

  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) says source of the issue was “woody plant material."
  • "Reported issue does not represent a food safety risk," CFIA email states.
  • Sprague says CFIA analysis determined sample was "partially lignified plant material".
  • The plant material is consistent with lentil plant stock, Sprague says CFIA analysis determined.
  • Sprague Foods Ltd. says they have not received similar complaints of this nature.

In an aim to eat more organic fare, Regina's Chris Parsons decided to try out a new soup brand but ended up getting more nature in his food than he hoped for.

Parsons said he went into Costco sometime in the last two weeks to get groceries and a case of organic lentil soup caught his eye.

He had never tried a product from Ontario company Sprague Foods, but said it is difficult to find new foods that are certified organic.

They're offering a premiere product that's supposed to be legit. It's touted as something superior because it's organic.- Chris Parsons

A few days later, he made a can of the lentil soup for himself and his mother. He said a few spoonfuls in, he could feel a chunk of something, but at first he thought it was a shell or a husk.

Parsons took another spoonful and felt another piece of something in his mouth. He said he didn't swallow it and instead spit it out and rinsed it off.

"Under closer observation, I noticed it was wood chips — one about the size of the end of your thumb and then a second one and then also shreds of it," Parsons said.

"I was just appalled. I thought, 'This is unbelievable.'"

Food safety investigation finds 'woody plant material'

Parsons said he has concerns that foods being marketed as organic can become contaminated and are not regularly checked.

"They're offering a premiere product that's supposed to be legit. It's touted as something superior because it's organic," he said.

"What consumers are putting their faith in, supposedly sold as something organic and certified organic by Pro-Cert, and we don't even know what we're getting.

"What they think they're getting and what they're getting is obviously two different things."

Parsons said he called Sprague Foods to find out why there were foreign objects in the soup, but was not given a direct answer or explanation.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency launched a food safety investigation after Parsons filed an official complaint.

Based on the CFIA inspection, including lab analysis, the source of the issue was identified as "woody plant material."

"It has been determined that the reported issue does not represent a food safety risk," the CFIA said in an email to CBC. 

The CFIA said it has followed up on the investigation with the manufacturer.

CBC News reached out to Sprague Foods but did not receive a response before publish time.

According to a statement from Costco, the company is not aware of any other similar incidents involving the presence of wood in the soup. 

"The vendor has been in close communication with the member regarding this issue," Costco said in a statement. "The investigation is still ongoing."

With files from Janani Whitfield

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