Saturday 24 February 2018

I found a four-inch stalk in my porridge

QSean got a bit of a fright one morning when eating his porridge along with his two young grandchildren. As he was eating his portion he found what appeared to be a stalk and it was four inches long.

Knowing that this could be potentially dangerous, Sean had the stalk investigated by his local Environmental Health Officer, whose analysis came back inconclusive.

He then sent the stalk back to the manufacturer, who replied that as oats are a field crop, the piece was likely to be a twig that passed through the manufacturing process.

They returned the stalk to Sean and included an apology and a €20 voucher.

But finding their quality control "unacceptable", he contacted the manufacturer again, who then offered to send him a hamper in addition.

Sean would like to seek monetary compensation, and wonders what to do next.

AWhen an item is found in a food product that shouldn't be there, it is a product safety and product liability issue, so Sean was certainly right to do something about it by contacting the manufacturer.

This should allow them both to apologise and to double-check their processes.

In relation to his claim for compensation, under product liability legislation if damage is caused the producer is liable to provide compensation and there is a lower threshold limit of €500.

Sean could also report the matter to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (, whose mission is to protect consumers' health and interests by ensuring that food meets the highest standards.

Irish Independent

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