Woman horrified to find new bag of flour crawling with insects

A mum was horrified to open a packet of flour to find bugs inside. (SWNS)
A mum was horrified to open a packet of flour to find bugs inside. (SWNS)

A mum was horrified to find the new bag of flour she’d opened to make a cake was crawling with insects.

Dani Stewart, 32, from Dundee, bought the 60p bag of flour three weeks ago from Tesco and put it in the cupboard unopened.

When she opened the packet after deciding to bake a carrot cake, she discovered it was crawling with bugs.

The mum-of-five complained to Tesco but was surprised to be told it was “normal”.

“I've never seen bugs in flour before,” she says.

Though she used to be a cake maker, the cleaning company owner says she’d never experienced finding insects in her flour.

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She says the first message she received from Tesco read: “From the picture you've sent, it looks like the insects you found are psocids. They're common household pests and are completely harmless.

“They prefer to live in dark, warm, humid places and dislike light or disturbance. They’re often found in dry foods such as sugar, flour, powdered milk and semolina.

“I can confirm our own-label flour gets made in a clean, safe and hygienic environment.

“All our factories are regularly inspected by a BPCA (British Pest Control Association) registered pest-control provider, and there’s no recent reports telling us of a problem.

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“I understand it is not pleasant at all so I will feed this back to the supplier and refund this for you with a gesture of goodwill included for the upset and inconvenience caused.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “We were very sorry to hear about this. We have extremely high standards for the food we put on our shelves and we work closely with our suppliers to ensure there are robust hygiene standards and pest control processes in place at our flour mills.

"We are investigating this issue further with our supplier and have given the customer a voucher as a gesture of goodwill.”

The mum bought the flour three weeks ago. (SWNS)
The mum bought the flour three weeks ago. (SWNS)

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What are flour bugs?

According to Nabim, the association representing UK flour millers occasionally people will find that their food cupboards have become infested with tiny grey or brown insects, which have been found on the packaging of dry goods such as flour, powdered milk, sugar or semolina.

What are Psocids?

Psocids - or booklice - which are often between 1 and 2mm long, are sometimes found in dry foods.

Nabim says poor hygiene is not the cause of the psocids and they are just as likely to be found in super clean homes.

“They prefer to live in dark, warm, humid places, such as the folds of packaging in food cupboards, and dislike light or disturbance,” the site explains. “They feed on a wide variety of food products - such as flour - and also the microscopic moulds that develop in humid conditions.”

According to Pest Defence, flour mites and weevils are also common kitchen pests that are often found in pantries and dry food cupboards.

“Both flour mites and weevils will have come into your kitchen through your flour or wheat products,” the site explains.

“A few flour bugs can lay many eggs, and if your products are being stored for a long time, these eggs can hatch and cause an infestation.”

So how do you get rid of flour bugs?

Pest Defence says the best way to completely eradicate the problem is to throw out any packets in your cupboard or pantry that may have come into contact with the infestation. This is because the flour insects could have crawled into any of the packaging and begun another infestation.

They also suggest thoroughly cleaning the cupboard with soapy water, or bleach, making sure you get right into the corners.

“Pesticide is the most effective way to get rid of the pests, although it can be very dangerous to use the chemical around food supplies and should only be handled by a professional,” Pest Defence add.

To prevent the problem reoccurring, one suggestion is to store your products in clean airtight containers.

“You can even try some simple home remedies such as freezing the produce for a few days to kill any flour bugs present,” the site explains.

Additional reporting SWNS.

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