Horror find in supermarket ravioli ends in hospital trip
SOUTH Australia woman Sarah Crawley, 21, and her partner Ryan Abblitt were eating dinner on December 30 when she bit down on something unexpected.
There was a loud crunch but at first, Sarah wasn't alarmed - she was eating a bowl of I Pastai vegan ravioli so assumed she'd come across some sort of natural product.
"I kept chewing it, thinking it was a seed of some sort, or pepper, but when I realised it was sharp and had cut my mouth, I reached in and it was a piece of glass," she told news.com.au.
The glass shard nicked her gums, a superficial wound that only bled for a few minutes. But by New Year's Day she was in excruciating abdominal pain.
The pain got so bad Ryan drove Sarah to Flinders Hospital at 9.30pm, where she was diagnosed with internal bleeding from suspected glass ingestion.
"The pain was so intense, they put me on oxycodone," she said.
"My stools were black, which the nurses said was because of internal bleeding. It was pretty sh*t. It definitely isn't how I wanted to start my New Year."
The next day, Sarah contacted the company from her hospital bed to let them know their products might be contaminated.
It took several days for a company representative to return her call and when he did, he said there was no way there could have been glass in any I Pastai products.
"He straight up denied it was glass, or that it was his product that had done this to me," she said.
Sarah's partner Ryan emailed the company a photo of the pasta packaging and the glass shard with "ravioli clearly baked into it" - which again, was met with denial.
"We were told it could be rosemary root - which is weird as hell, because it is super obviously glass in the photo," he said.
Company owner Luca Galaverna's emailed response to the pair stated that foreign objects in processed food are a common issue anyone could come across.
"It would be great if you kept the packaging (to see the lot number or expiry date) and a receipt of the purchase of the product. This could have helped us better follow up your enquiry," Galaverna wrote.
"Without this valuable information, it becomes quite impossible to work out if something could have gone wrong and where.
"We don't have any glass or glass utensils or equipment on premises. If it was a small shred of Rosemary root (happened in the past), or a piece of plastic shred or a metal screw, we could eventually be called in fault, but being glass, it's impossible."
Woolworths, where Sarah and Ryan bought the ravioli, was more receptive to the complaint, issuing the couple a credit voucher and helping them to lodge an incident report.
"At Woolworths we take food safety and quality very seriously," a Woolworths spokesman said. "While this matter appears to be an isolated incident, we have commenced an investigation with our supplier in line with established procedures.
"We continually work hard with all suppliers to ensure the products supplied meet the food safety and quality standards Woolworths and our customers expect."
Dissatisfied with the official response from I Pastai, Ryan posted about Sarah's experience on Facebook and was contacted by other people.
Eamonn Parsons, 24, purchased the same vegan ravioli on December 20 in NSW.
"Like Sarah, it wasn't until I started eating it and something went crunch," he told news.com.au.
"I thought it was pepper at first, but it didn't take long to realise it wasn't. It was much too hard, like chewing gravel or sand.
"It was only a couple of shards, but definitely noticeable."
Mr Galaverna took to Facebook to dispute Ryan's claims.
"Please be aware that what Ryan is mentioning is a wrong statement," he responded in a comment on Ryan's post.
"What Ryan might have found in the packet of pasta is a small thin shred of the accrual tray where we pack our products."
News.com.au attempted to call the company but was informed the owner was presently unavailable. A company representative responded online, stating I Pastai was investigating the incident, and trying to discover what the object was, and where it came from.
"This isn't to say we are avoiding responsibility for the contamination, just that we follow a 'No Glass' Policy, as do most of our suppliers - so it's hard to determine the cause," a company spokesman said.
"None of the ingredients we use in our factory come packaged in glass materials."