Insect Found in Tesco Rice Named Philip After CEO

So, time for another Tesco complaint as I asserted my consumer rights again! I know how popular Tesco posts are so here we go.

Last year, there I was opening my bag of Tesco risotto rice and found an insect. Eugh. Unfortunately my natural instinct was to kill it, before thinking it would have been better to film it running freely round the rice. I named him Phillip after Phillip Clarke Tesco CEO. Seemed apt somehow.

Insect in Tesco rice named Phillip after the CEO
Insect in Tesco rice named Phillip after the CEO

Email Complaint
So after finding something else to cook, I complained to Clarke. Without boring you with the details here are some snippets:

“… I was horrified to find a live insect crawling through the rice. I killed it, shame but I didn’t want it getting away. I have attached a photo. Obviously, as you will know this breaks the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) as the product was far from satisfactory quality and it was not fit for purpose either! I didn’t want to cook an insect. I’m sorry that I don’t know what kind of insect it is, but as the paella was packaged in Italy perhaps the packers there can tell you. … someone tweeted that they had found an insect in their Tesco rice.. This leads me to think that it could be a serious issue and concern for Tesco…. How many other insects are crawling around the rice packaging area? Unidentified object in the bagging area” takes on a new meaning don’t you think?
So, I have emailed you before, you may recall that I emailed you earlier in the year, but Tesco staff and you did not reply and I took Tesco to court. I won. I emailed you a couple of years ago and you ignored me then too. However, I’m hoping that someone in the Executive Team may be concerned…….who wants insects in their food? Not a vegetarian certainly.
I trust that I will hear from someone (it would be nice if you had the courtesy of responding, it would make a nice change)…” etc. etc.

Well. They asked me to take it back to the store. Nah, a) effort and b) how do we know it wouldn’t get “lost”.

Name and address for complaining to Tesco Chief Executive Office :) You can find CEO contact details at You
Name and address for complaining to Tesco Chief Executive Office 🙂 You’re welcome

So I said I would post it. I also kept some rice just in case it should get “lost” the insect had after all been crawling through it. This is the parcel:

I got offered £30. Make of that what you will. In the scheme of things not very much given that I could have taken it to Trading Standards and if I was dishonest could have said I’d eaten another one and had been ill. But as I have said many times, I don’t lie  and I don’t complain just for the sake of getting pay outs. It is always about the principle of the thing.

I also asked what investigation they were undertaking to prevent this happening again. You’ll be pleased to hear that they did contact their supplier. Perhaps not so pleased to hear that the supplier has many checks for pest control. The poor old beetle was confused. I kid ye not. “On examination of the pack and rice returned we identified the insect  as a confused flour beetle.” The report also went on to state that it could not discount  the possibility of cross contamination  occurring in the distribution  chain or storage at home.” Now, given that actually I had taken delivery of my shopping that day and the bag had gone straight from bag to (clean!) work surface we can throw out that possibility. So, the company said it had had no other complaint. So, are we left with the assumption that it is cross contamination? Watch out for those beetles in your flour or anything else given that they apparently get confused easily.

Couple of weeks later I found another insect in rice! Unfortunately I couldn’t remember which bag of rice the previous one was or I would have gone to Trading Standards stating there was a clearly a problem!

So what extra protein have you ever found in food?




By Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow

Consultant | Author | Speaker | Blogger | Presenter | Journalist
Helping to make, prevent and deal with complaints

13 replies on “Insect Found in Tesco Rice Named Philip After CEO”

Not really about Tesco but saw comment on your complaint tips section concerning ” we are recording your call for training purposes”. People may not realise this but firms CAN use these calls for disputes, the DPA and the ICO allow this. In fact, my booking call to a holiday firm – including all my personal details, bank details, passport details and next of kin, was sent to a third party by audio files in an unencrypted email. I had complained about the standard of their accommodation. Their contention being that their use of the term ‘superior’ meant bigger and not better, the accommodation was actually more on a par with student halls of the 1980s. The firm never disputed that they had sent such an email and I complained to the ICO – who found for the firm, telling me, by letter, that they do not ‘consider unencrypted email to be inherently unsafe’. I do not accept this to be the case but the ICO have now closed the case. The firm concerned ignore all correspondence from me .
As I did not question the term ‘superior’ which I take to mean better – and in the case of rooms I have booked with UK hotel chain means bigger and better, I am deemed to have accepted it. Please be careful when the call is being recorded, training purposes also means that they can use the recording in disputes. People think that data can only be used for the purpose it is collected for – clearly this is not the case.

Hmmm. In my book it is a clear breach of data protection. See here Rules clearly state:
Data protection rights will help you to make sure that the information stored about you is:
factually correct;
only available to those who should have it;
only used for stated purposes.

But see point 8 on that link – legal reasons over ride.

The comment on another thread regarding recording calls referred to the customer being allowed to record which was not strictly accurate and I would advise anyone against doing that before reading this: from Ofcom

Take your complaint regarding misleading advertising to the ASA though!

yack yack yack! glad i don’t shop at tescos! I use sainsburys, m and s and waitrose, please don’t tell me they do this too?

Dear Helen,
I just read your article about “Philip in the rice”. Interesting. I would really like your advise or opinion on the following though…..Happy if you can evidence your replies with some sources as well…..
1. How do you asses that £30 is the “right” compensation ( or redress) for the trouble caused to you?
2. Did you ask for a specific amount for redress when you contacted them about this matter?
3. How do you monetize a redress?


1) I assessed this as poor really but that said, having heard a number of stories about cross contamination it was in keeping with what gets offered, if not better probably due to the extra complaining and legal stuff I mentioned. I never got round to contacting Trading Standards about the matter. I think the fact that actually because one wouldn’t be ill eating insects authorities wouldn’t take as seriously as something that did/would. But it’s never about the amount for me, it’s the principle.
2) No
3) Varies from case to case – more details in the book

I bought a bag of flour from tesco’s couple of days ago and today when I opened it up there were about two dead maggots and one that was alive. When I returned to tesco to complain, all they could tell me was that they would give me a 10 pound voucher but I wasn’t very happy with that because imagine if me or my kids ate it. How do I take this matter further.

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