A mother-of-two was horrified to discover a live rat trapped inside a sealed packet of Aldi plums after hearing rummaging at night from her kitchen.
Salma Riaz, 32, and her husband, Kamran, bought the punnet of fruit but didn’t spot the rodent curled up in the plastic container, covered with netting.
But seven hours later she heard scratching and rustling coming from their fruit and veg stand – and discovered the squirming pest.
Salma Riaz, 32, and her husband, Kamran, bought the punnet of fruit from Aldi in Rochdale but did not notice the live rat, pictured, until they returned to their home in Rochdale
The rat was hidden inside a punnet of plums which cost the couple 75p from the budget store
Mrs Riaz said she only discovered the rodent after she heard scraping sounds in her kitchen
Mrs Riaz said she was left ‘baffled and shocked’ and a video shows the tiny frightened animal blinking from inside the sealed package.
In emails to Mrs Riaz, Aldi’s serious complaints team said that punnets are all hand-picked in Italy, before being placed into the netting machine.
After the punnets have been wrapped they are all individually weighed before been boxed by hand ahead of the three-day transit.
Rochdale Council’s investigation is still ongoing but they disclosed that pest control visited the store and found no issues with the store as well as the store not receiving any other complaints of a similar nature.
Mrs Riaz, from Rochdale, said: ‘I went into the kitchen in the middle of the night and I could hear a rummaging noise.
‘I couldn’t see anything but I knew it was coming from the area where the fruit bowl is so I shouted my husband.
‘He came down and couldn’t see anything either and it was only when he was stood looking in the direction of the fruit bowl that he saw the rat’s eyes.
‘As soon as we discovered it, I said, ‘did the bag not seem heavier or was it not moving inside’?
‘He said it must have been wedged in so tight it could not move.
Aldi said the punnet of plums had been hand-packed in Italy before being put in a net machine
Rochdale Council has also launched an investigation into how the rat made it into the punnet
‘The fact it was still alive is very worrying to me and confusing. I just couldn’t understand how it could still be alive trapped how it was.
‘I was shaken up. All sorts of things were going through my mind at the time like what would have happened if my daughter had gone for fruit in the morning and found it, she would have been petrified.’
Mrs Riaz and her husband bought the 75p fruit at Aldi in Rochdale, Greater Manchester on December 13.
Mr Riaz grabbed the punnet of plums from the back of the shelf because he believed they would be the freshest.
The couple took the fruit – and the live rat – back to the store the next day.
Mrs Riaz said she left the rat with the manager at the Aldi store, who seemed ‘shocked’ and left the rat at the store’s warehouse.
Unimpressed by the store’s response, Mrs Riaz contacted Rochdale council desperate for answers on how the rat had ended up concealed inside the packaging.
Mrs Riaz, who prides herself on her immaculate flat, was left so shaken by the discovery she refused to go into the kitchen for three days.
She said: ‘Even though I knew the rat had been removed, psychologically it made me uneasy, I felt itchy and was shook.’
After receiving the reports from both Aldi and the council, Salma believes the rat had frozen during transportation.
As Aldi’s email stated the plums had been stored at minus temperatures during a three-day transit from Italy to the UK and thawed inside the house.
Mrs Ridecided to speak about her experience after reading about a customer discovering half a rat inside a bag of frozen vegetables, at the start of February from a Cornwall Aldi branch.
She said: ‘When I read what had happened, I realised this is obviously not a one-off situation like I was led to believe.
‘There is a rodent problem somewhere in the system despite pest control not finding anything.’
An Aldi spokesperson said: “We have carried out a thorough internal investigation and can confirm that there is no issue with our store or warehouses.
“We are now investigating this isolated incident with our supplier to understand how this could have happened.
“In the meantime, we have apologised to Mrs Riaz and offered her a gesture of goodwill.”