It started out as any ordinary day for Felicia Chin – she woke up, got out of bed, did her morning routine of washing up and all that jazz, and was just about to have some good ol’ breakfast cereal from Tesco Malaysia when she was rudely interrupted by a disgusting find.
According to Felicia, she poured some Tesco Finest* Seven Nut Granola (“Carefully Selected For Superb Flavour”, it says on the box) into a bowl. Initially, she got a whiff of something amiss but thought it was just the smell of stale nuts. So she continued to dunk the Tesco Finest* Seven Nut Granola cereal into her bowl, only to have dozens of live and squirming maggots staring back at her. What’s worse is that the maggots were the same colour as the nutty granola so had she not poured the cereal first before the milk, well, the end result would’ve been more catastrophic.
We first saw her post on her Facebook page and decided to ask her what happened. At that point, she said she had already contacted Tesco Malaysia and was awaiting their response. According to her, she was giving Tesco Malaysia an opportunity to respond to her and to do something about this horrifying experience that she has had with one of the many products that they carry in their store.
By the way, the Tesco Finest range of products are the slightly more premium ones, made with more “superior” ingredients and in some cases, designed/recommended by top chefs. Of course, people usually pay a more premium price for these products.
After almost an entire day (morning till evening), Felicia got back to us. Here’s her account of what happened:
Fancy some extra protein in your breakfast cereal? Well, that was my unpleasant morning surprise. I found myself staring at dozens of live and squirming maggots in my granola. Brand? Tesco Finest* Seven Nut Granola, that was delivered to my doorstep yesterday.
When I opened the packaging, I got a whiff of something amiss, but passed it off as the smell of stale nuts. I continued to dunk the granola into my bowl, and to my horror I spotted wriggling movements. Mind you, the maggots were the same color as the nutty granola. Had the milk been poured in first, I would be chomping away happily…unaware of the extra protein bits! It sure was the “finest” bowl of granola I’ve seen, with new and improved ingredients.
Taking a closer look at the rest of the package, I discovered several winged-insects fluttering in the plastic bag with more maggots crawling about.
So I called Tesco’s head office only to have my call transferred 4 times because no one knew how to address my complaint–subsequently directing me to several people who could not help. Finally, someone gave me a 1-300 number to call. I did.
After several back-and-forth phone conversations with the customer rep and relaying parts of information in bits, this was the conclusion: 1. Sorry, let us replace the product. 2. Don’t throw the package of granola away. 3. When can we replace the product for you?
I explained that, I expect more than just a replacement product or a refund. I said, “Do something about it! I’m not going to just accept a replacement.”
At this point, incensed, I asked for the manager in charge because she said there is nothing else she can do. Somehow she refused to give me the manager’s name.
My biggest concern is that the entire batch of (potentially) maggot-ridden granola, still on the shelves at Tesco, might be scooped up by unassuming customers. They may not inspect the granola as carefully as I did.
Finally, a manager called me apologising for the situation. Apparently, he had to check with headquarters about what steps to take. I asked him if he had checked the Tesco granola on the shelves yet. He replied, “Nope, but will do so later.” Bear in mind, there is a 6-hour lapse since I had first made my complaint known. Still no one checked the stock on the shelves!
I’m looking forward to see what they will do about this complaint. Do you think a replacement/refund is fair compensation? What if we had poured the granola in a bowl for our children without doing a double take? I shudder just thinking about it.
Moral of the story: Please pay attention to what you put in your mouth. No matter how hungry you are. Take a second; stare at your food; analyse the contents. Make sure it is safe for consumption, regardless of how “fine” they say the ingredients are.
She has also provided us a video of the said bowl of cereal.
Um, don’t watch if you’re squeamish:
Gosh, we got goosebumps from watching the above video!
Also, after reading her account, it’s easy to see why Felicia didn’t to just settle for a replacement since it’d probably come from the same shelves. Furthermore, during the 6-hour timeframe (from first complaint to her conversation with the manager), nobody made a move to check the rest of the Tesco Finest* Seven Nut Granola boxes of cereal? How many more people have purchased the same boxes of cereal?
More important, how do we know when it’s really safe to purchase the same Tesco Finest* Seven Nut Granola off the shelves of Tesco Malaysia’s stores?
“Carefully Selected For Superb Flavour”, indeed.
Apparently, this is not “new”. Another Malaysian netizen left the following comment on Facebook to say that he too has previously experienced something similar to the above maggots “find”. In his case, it was the Tesco Finest* pasta product:
We’re guessing it’s not just the cereal shelves then? Maybe Tesco Malaysia needs to get in some help from pest control?
Has anyone else experienced similar issues like this? Let us know in the comment box below.