Jade Smith was looking forward to making some Bloody Mary cocktails over the Christmas holidays, but when she opened the can of Rio D'Oro tomato juice she'd bought from Aldi, she got a festive surprise she really didn't want. Explaining that the carton felt "heavier than usual," she cut it open to find a huge foreign object lurking at the bottom, which some social media commenters described as looking like a "foetus." Jade took photos and immediately returned the carton to her local store in Longwell Green, Bristol, filling out a customer complaint form.
After hearing nothing, she called them, only to be told that the product was being sent off for testing. Eventually, she received an apology letter from the supermarket, with a £10 voucher as a "gesture of goodwill."
WARNING.PHOTO. So I purchased some Aldi tomato Juice Dec 2016.To enjoy a bloody Mary over the Christmas hols.But a...Posted by Jade Smith on Saturday, January 28, 2017
Aldi claims that testing showed that the unwelcome addition to the juice was a large growth of mould, and "not anything sinister." Though many of the people on social media reacting to the disgusting photos are convinced that it's something else, some also pointed out the object's similarity to scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), the basis of the fermented health drink kombucha. While we might think of mould as the little bluish growths on the edge of stale bread or the lines running through a good blue cheese, left to grow in the right conditions it really can turn into something that looks like it's come straight out of a sci-fi film.
The real concern here is that, even if this is "just" mould, it shouldn't have been growing at this rate in a package sat on a supermarket shelf. Jade mentions nothing about the carton being out of date, which can only suggest, as Aldi states in the letter, that the carton was somehow not sealed correctly or had been pierced or damaged in some way during transit or whilst sitting on the shelf, allowing air to get in and mould to grow.
One thing's for sure, though the supermarket has admitted fault and apologised, a £10 voucher seems like a very stingy apology for such a horrible experience! We'll never look at a Bloody Mary the same way again!