BUILDER Phil Hall is demanding an explanation from Sainsbury’s after a live locust from one of the supermarket’s salad bags ended up inside his mouth.

Phil was on his lunchbreak and took a bite of a coronation chicken sandwich he’d made in the morning – along with some of the mixed salad leaves.

“I thought to myself, coronation chicken shouldn’t be that hard and crunchy, and when I took it out of my mouth, I saw it was a great big locust,” said Phil, who was working on a development at Brompton, in North Yorkshire.

“It was definitely still alive because it was twitching, and its head was moving. I shouted to the lads ‘come and have a look at what I’ve just nearly eaten’ and they couldn’t believe their eyes.”

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Phil’s wife, Karen, had bought the mixed salad bag from Sainsbury’s main store, in Darlington town centre, four days earlier, and kept it in the fridge at home in the village of Hurworth-on-Tees.

“It’s massive and it made me feel physically sick to think that the entire thing was in my mouth,” said Phil, a former police officer.

“It was camouflaged in amongst the salad leaves, so I just didn’t see it when I put a handful in as part of the coronation chicken sandwich.”

Phil is now calling for a new investigation, along with an explanation about how a live locust could end up inside a salad bag on sale at Sainsbury’s in Darlington, saying: "It beggars belief."

“It’s absolutely disgusting – it’s put me off coronation chicken for life and I’ll be going through any salad I have in future with a fine-tooth comb,” he added.

The Northern Echo: The locust that came from a Sainsbury's mixed salad bag: Picture: Chris Barron

The father-of-two is calling on Sainsbury’s to make a “meaningful donation” to a foodbank in Darlington as a goodwill gesture.

To make matters worse, Phil tested positive for Covid when he got home from work after feeling unwell later in the day.

“A locust sandwich and Covid – I’ve definitely had better days!” he said.

The locust, and the remains of the bag of salad, have been returned to Sainsbury’s store in Darlington, where a manager said: “This obviously isn’t what we would want to happen, but it will be fully investigated.”

Asked about Phil’s request for a donation to made to a local foodbank, the manager added: “We’ll do that.”

Sainsbury's nationally say they have established that the product was made by a manufacturer called G's, adding that it isn't made by Sainsbury's and is available in other supermarkets. G's, described on its website as one of Europe's leading fresh produce companies, has been contacted and asked for a comment.

In the meantime, the locust will be sent to Sainsbury’s Product Quality Team for further examination and a company spokesperson said: "We have apologised for this unpleasant find and we are investigating with the manufacturer."

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It's not the first time a Sainsbury's shopper has encountered a locust. In April, 2018, Sainsbury’s apologised to a man in Belfast after he found a locust in one of the supermarket’s ready-made salads.

According to a BBC report at the time, Gerard O’Hora was eating a chicken and bacon Caesar salad when he saw “something black and strange out of the corner of my eye”.

It turned out to be a locust, cut in half, but still squirming. Sainsbury’s apologised to Gerard for the “unpleasant find”, adding that it was extremely rare, and an investigation was underway with the supermarket chain’s supplier.