Visitor Question

Found a Worm Inside an Orange…

Submitted By: Kiana (Atanta, GA)

I went to a national chain retail and food superstore in Tennessee and purchased some oranges so that I could make a home remedy drink for my cold. One of the oranges had a dead worm with eggs in it. I was totally freaked out. My fiance put it in a ziplock bag and a plastic bag.

To me this was unacceptable. I took it back to the store manager and he said that this is common and he would give me more oranges! At that moment I wanted to snap, being that it was the most ridiculous thing he could’ve said. I will not go further on about the story, but I have a daughter and don’t like to think of what would happen if she had ate that.

Oh, also this manager told me that if I ate it that my stomach acid would kill it! I told him that I was from out of town visiting and had went to the doctor earlier that day, but I definitely did not think that she would have the same ridiculous opinion.

He was extremely rude. Not just this, but now I can’t even get the image of what I saw out of my head. We took a picture of it as well. What legal action can I take against this store? Is there any health organization that I can inform?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Kiana,

There isn’t really any legal action you can successfully take. Anyone can file a lawsuit against anyone else and at anytime. That doesn’t necessarily mean the case will be successful.

There are thousands of cases of finding worms in apples and other fruit. There are literally millions of oranges which are harvested and sold daily to food stores, restaurants and other retailers all over the world. Of the millions sold only .05% are reported to have infestations of worms or similar bugs. That’s 5000 out of every million!

The question might be how you expected the retailer to discover the worm? The store could possibly x-ray every piece of fruit it sells, but if it did you might be complaining about the harmful effects of x-rays or increased costs.

Unless you know of a way for stores to detect worms in fruit you will have a couple of alternatives. You can either get on with your life and chalk it up to a bad fruit day, or choose not buy fruit from any stores anymore, or eat any fruit from any other source.

We researched the type of worms found in fruit. The type of “worm” you probably found is called “fungus gnat larvae”. Unless a person has a specific allergy to that species of larvae ,the larvae are entirely harmless to humans.

The store manager was correct when he told you the worm was protein and that normal stomach acid would have destroyed it. That destruction would have occurred within an instant of the larvae entering the stomach.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: October 19, 2011

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