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Black Widow Spider Found in Broccoli

2018-06-19 17:54
A shopper at a Toledo, Ohio grocery store brought home some extra-high-protein broccoli—with extra venom. Jacob Vaughn bought the broccoli at a Kroger’s supermarket in Maumee, Ohio on June 11. While he was washing it, he noticed that he wasn’t alone. Nestled in a space between the stalks of broccoli was a black widow spider, whose bite can be 15 times as powerful as a rattlesnake’s. “The spider came out and started waving his hands,” Vaughn told WTOL. “It was pretty obvious he was alive since he was throwing his hands in every direction. He did not seem pleased." Thinking quickly, Vaughn snatched up the broccoli sprig—and the angry arachnid—and dumped them both in a plastic bag—which he then sealed in yet another bag. He wasn’t taking any chances. After the venomous visitor was secured, Vaughn captured it on video. While Vaughn called Kroger’s to warn them that their broccoli contained illegal immigrants, his mother Chandra Vaughn posted his video on Facebook—a move that might have saved the spider’s life. Cheryl Garcia, from the Reptile Division of Another Chance Sanctuary, spotted the spider and contacted the Vaughn’s asking them to hold onto it until she could collect it. Garcia said. “She’s unique,” Garcia told WTOL. “She’s not for everybody but she deserves a home.” Cheryl Garcia found that home—an interested collector contacted the sanctuary and by June 15, “Broccoli,” as she is now called, was on her way to an aquarium where she will be pampered and loved. Watch Out for Tiny Travelers Garcia told WTIOL that finding insects in produce is not at all unusual at this time of year. Entomologist Linda Rayor told Scientific American that spiders often travel in bunches of bananas, and black widows in particular like to go on vacations in boxes of grapes. She didn’t mention broccoli—and now she doesn’t have to. Jacob Vaughan was wise to wash his vegetables first—it might have saved him a nasty bite. For what it’s worth, black widow bites are rarely fatal—though if the spider injects venom, the victim can expect nausea and muscle aches—oh, and paralysis of the diaphragm, which makes breathing difficult. Rayor recommend waiting for 15 minutes after a bite to see if the spider did inject any poison. If the victim feels symptoms after 15 minutes, he or she should get medical assistance. Children and the elderly are at greater risk—they should be brought to the hospital immediately. According to Poison Control of Arizona, “The initial sensation may be painful, with little local reaction. Later, pain, cramping and stiffness may appear in the shoulders, back, chest or abdomen. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, anxiety and high blood pressure.” That site says to keep the bitten limb elevated above the heart and basically, take an aspirin. Kroger Apologizes As for Kroger, when Vaughn called the m later that night to inform them that some of their produce might be harboring illegal aliens, they were apologetic about the whole thing. The offered to refund his money, or to replace the broccoli—presumably with a spider-free variety. In a statement, Kroger explained to customers that, well, bugs happen. “Kroger works with growers to ensure we are always providing safe, quality food to our customers,” the statement read. “We encourage customers to inspect fresh produce prior to consuming. If customers are not satisfied with their purchase they are welcome to return it for a refund or exchange.”