RCMP, Loblaws investigating straight pins found in clementines in Digby

Published on January 6, 2017

The straight pin pictured here was found inside a clementine a Digby County family purchased in December. An RCMP investigation is underway.

DIGBY, N.S. – It’s not surprising that when Cindy Wright and her husband Brad were eating some clementines at their Deep Brook, Digby County, home a few weeks ago, Brad ended up with a bad taste in his mouth.

Actually, it was a rusted straight pin.
The pin was inside one of the clementines that he was eating.
“We had brought them home, threw out the packaging. Over time we had eaten about three-quarters of them,” says Cindy. “Brad had taken the clementine apart in sections. As he was chewing on a piece of clementine he felt something hard inside his mouth.”
He pulled out the straight pin. He wasn’t injured and Cindy says it was fortunate it didn’t get lodged in his throat. They were also relieved a child had not grabbed it to eat it.
They reported the incident to the Atlantic Superstore in Digby, where they had purchased the clementines. Cindy says she was surprised to be contacted by the RCMP a while later informing her a second incident had also been reported in Digby.
Now the store where the couple made their purchase says there is an active RCMP investigation happening to determine if there was intentional tampering done at the store. Loblaws, which operates Atlantic Superstores, is treating the matter extremely seriously.

“Our process is we call the local RCMP detachment,” says Mark Boudreau, director of corporate affairs for Loblaws Atlantic. “We called them in. They have an active investigation going on right now.

“We did due diligence on our end. Since it was two different products – it was clementines but they were two different vendors – we don’t want to draw too many conclusion, but we don’t think there is a packaging or shipment cause.”

Although there are cameras in the stores, Boudreau says they’ve briefed their staff to be diligent, to take note if someone is hanging around that area of the store or if there is activity happening.

“It’s a serious matter. We want to make sure that our staff are aware but we also let the police figure what is the cause,” he says.

Boudreau says the two incidents were reported within a few days of each other. Although isolated incidences from one another, their similarity is indeed cause for concern. (Wright doesn’t recall the exact date she bought the clementines but believed it to be around Dec. 18.)

Boudreau says if anyone else experiences this, they should immediately contact the store where the item was bought and also call the RCMP.

In this case he says, “We’re absolutely confident that it’s not a product problem but it appears to be a tampering issue. That’s why the best thing for anyone to do is contact the RCMP or contact us.”

Wright says she was impressed by how quickly Loblaws acted on the matter when she contacted them, and says it was the store that reported the incident to the RCMP. Boudreau says they are cooperating fully with the RCMP.

The Tri-County Vanguard made numerous attempts to speak to the RCMP about their investigation but the police did not get back to our newsroom.

As for the Digby County family, Cindy Wright says she hopes these two cases were indeed isolated incidents and no more will happen. No one, she says, wants to have to continuously dissect their food before they eat it.

She’s eaten other clementines since the incident with no problems. However her husband, she says, has decided for the time being to take a pass on them.