Venomous arachnids in bananas, occupier’s liability?

Over the past year there has several instances in the UK where a dangerously venomous spider known as the “Brazilian Wandering Spider” has been found hiding in bananas at local supermarkets (after making an over 5,000 mile journey). Looking into the incidents on a legal footing, we ask who is responsible should a venomous spider or any other animal bite and poison somebody.

The epic journey

For a Brazilian wandering spider (commonly known as a banana spider) to find its way over to England it must endure a 5,000 mile journey by stowing away within the fruit that gives it its name.

They often rest hidden in bunches until its time for them to feed. During a crossing over the ocean, the chances of finding substantial food are greatly reduced due to being stowed inside a ship, hampering its survival chances before it even reaches English soil.

Once bananas cross the ocean and land on UK soil, there is even further odds to defy, as most supermarket chains openly state that they hand check all fruit that comes to their stores. This isn’t the only check they must get past either, as fruit are also commonly washed and rinsed before they are shipped over, ideally ridding the fruit of unwanted guests.


Problems at both ends

While at first it may seem humorous news that venomous spiders are on the way to England or sneaking past quality control, there is the potential problem of “what happens if one of these spiders bites somebody?” With anti venom for this spider not being widely available here, it could easily be a life threatening and far from the jovial headline many newspapers tend to print.

The shops that retail the bananas do have systems that should ensure no foreign objects or insects end up being displayed in their stores, with a wash before transportation and inspection upon arrival. In many situations a lot of spokespeople from the stores describe the spiders as “sneaking through” their checks, but if every bunch is hand checked as it rolls through, then there should not feasibly be any way for them to “sneak through” into shops.

Venomous spiders found in bananas

The answer to preventing the rare occurrence would be to either implement further cleansing of the bunches or more systematic checking procedures. A second wash in the UK could be an answer, a more thorough wash to rid them of pests or simply more staff carrying out the checks. Whatever works, it is essential that no spiders end up in somebody’s home and risk causing injuries.


Legal help for foreign objects

While finding a spider in your bunch of bananas is a rare occurrence and it is even  rarer that you would experience a bite, there are worrying, more regular occurrences when buying food such as metal and plastic off cuts making their way into pre packed meals. These pose a more common threat like choking or damage internally if swallowed.

If you, or a family member were to experience any pain through swallowing unwanted foreign objects in food then you are entitled to legal assistance. Quality control is in place for a reason and when it fails, causing damage to an innocent buyer, it needs to be brought to the company’s attention.

If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about making a claim for injury then you can call us on 01695 722 222 to see what we can do to help you (lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm).

We also have an online claim form if you would like to begin the process yourself. Simply fill in the form and tell us about the incident and we can assess the case based on the facts you give. We offer a ‘no win no fee’ policy which removes risk from you starting your claim, ensuring you have access to justice. You can be rest assured that if your claim is unsuccessful you would not have to pay a penny.

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