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Woman ill after being poisoned by courgettes

PUBLISHED: 16:34 15 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:49 15 July 2020

Liz Moriarty was made ill by a courgette from a bad batch of seeds    Photo: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.

Liz Moriarty was made ill by a courgette from a bad batch of seeds Photo: PA Photo/Thinkstockphotos.

Archant

A Norfolk woman fell ill with painful cramps after eating a “disgusting” courgette grown from a batch of seeds which have since been recalled.

Councillor Jim Moriarty testing a courgette after receiving a bad batch of seeds from Mr Fothergill's. Picture: Jim MoriartyCouncillor Jim Moriarty testing a courgette after receiving a bad batch of seeds from Mr Fothergill's. Picture: Jim Moriarty

Suffolk-based seed company Mr Fothergill’s issued a warning after a batch of courgette seeds was found to have “unusually high levels” of a toxin which can cause stomach upsets.

Among customers affected were Jim Moriarty, a borough councillor for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, and his wife Liz, from Castle Acre.

Following a Sunday roast dinner, during which the courgettes were served, Mr Moriarty, 63, said his wife experienced “really painful cramps, retching and diarrhoea”.

Mr Moriarty said the taste was “bitter, sour-tasting and disgusting”, forcing the couple to re-plate the meal.

He said: “My wife took a mouthful and expressed extreme disgust at the taste and the bitterness. I tried it and had to instantly remove it from my mouth. You wanted it out as quickly as possible one way or another.

“We then realised it was the courgette and that the taste had spread to the broccoli so we had to discard the vegetables and serve up the meal again.

“We ate with trepidation and concern and even wondered if a passing cat had contributed to it. We feared the worst and we were right to.

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“I was fortunate as I did not get ill as I did not eat it but my wife only had a tiny bit and then had bad stomach problems. The worst of it was over by midday but she did not fully recover for 24 hours.”

As a result, Mr Moriarty said he warned various councils about the bad batch and was contacted by three further families in Castle Acre who also became ill after eating courgettes.

Mr Moriarty said he had not been put off by the experience and added: “Now I make sure I always lick my courgettes before I eat them as you can tell if they are bad.”

Mr Fothergill’s declined to comment.

In a previous statement Tim Jeffries, commercial director, said: “We have reacted promptly to a handful of complaints we have received from our customers to withdraw seed and make efforts to advise customers to avoid any discomfort. The problem is impossible to test for in the seed itself and we have never had a batch of seed like this in our history.”


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