Foreign Objects in Food
LPC & GDL Matthew Shiels
Legally reviewed by: LPC & GDL Matthew Shiels

Finding foreign objects in food can be unpleasant, and in some cases can make you very unwell. If you have suffered from an injury caused by food or drink or have been affected by a foreign object in your food, then we can help you to make a compensation claim.

What Should I Do if I Find a Foreign Object in my Food?

If you think that you have found a potentially dangerous object in your food, there are some steps that you can take to report a foreign object in your food. These include:

  • Where possible, take photographs of the object that is in your food
  • Leaving the object in the food and handling it as little as possible, if at all
  • Keeping all the food and packaging in the original containers and storing them as advised in a cupboard, fridge or freezer

Carrying out these steps will allow us to assess your case with all the relevant evidence intact, and potentially help you to get personal injury compensation for any injuries.

What Injuries Can Be Caused by Foreign Objects in Food?

In the UK, the Food Standard Agency (FSA) attempt to maintain the standard of food safety with several strict checks throughout food plants. However, in serious cases, food contamination has been known to lead to:

  • Dental damage
  • Damage to internal organs
  • A digestive system injury claim

What is Defined as a Foreign Object in my Food?

Although unexpected, some objects may appear in your food that are ultimately harmless but should have been intercepted by the manufacturers. In different categories of foodstuffs, there are varying common complaints. Some of these include:

In Tinned Foods: 

  • Insects, including wasps and fruit flies
    Whilst unpleasant, they are killed and sterilised by the canning process and so are not dangerous to humans.
  • Struvite
    In fish, there are naturally occurring elements that may develop into hard crystals during the canning process. This may look like glass, but it is fact called struvite and will be broken down by the stomach acid if it is swallowed. Struvite is especially common in salmon.
  • Mould
    If the packaging of food is damaged, then this can mean that mould can grow. This should not happen and could indicate an avoidable error in production or storage.

In Fish, Meat, and Poultry:

  • Codworm
    This is a small worm that can be found in the flesh of cod or haddock. They are killed by cooking and are harmless to humans, but should ideally all be removed when handled by the manufacturer or supermarket.
  • Skin, bone
    Whilst consuming the skin or bone of an animal is often harmless, it is highly unpleasant and has been known to cause dental damage.

In Fruit and Vegetables: 

  • Stone, slugs and soil
    The consumption of these should be avoidable if you wash all of your fruit and vegetables thoroughly

In Baked Goods:

  • Bakery char
    These can sometimes be mistaken for droppings, but they are small bits of overcooked dough
  • Carbonised grease
    This is a type of non-toxic vegetable oil that is used to lubricate the baking machinery. This may sometimes become incorporated into the dough and will give the product a grey appearance but it is not unsafe to consume.

In Dried Foods:

  • Insects
    Dried products such as flour, sugar and pulses may contain ‘book lice’. They do not carry disease, but they can be alarming and can eat through the packaging. They can also spread quickly due to the rate at which they can reproduce.

Even if the foreign object that you have found in your food is harmless, it is still the case that manufacturers or producers of food stuffs should always carry out thorough checks to avoid any potential injury.

If you or a family member have suffered because of a foreign object in your food, then we may be able to help you to claim for something found in your food. Our expert solicitors can give you help and advice today.

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