IT is not every day that you encounter a dangerous spider from South America – especially not in your food.

But that is what happened to mum, Kirstie Hudd, 25, when she bought a punnet of red grapes from an inside fruit market in Slough last Wednesday, January 31.

Mrs Hudd, of Village Lane, Hedgerley, was told there was a 95 per cent probability the spider she found at the bottom of the punnet was the venomous, Chilean Recluse, common in Peru. She contacted the British Arachnological Society to help her identify it after initially reporting the find to the RSPCA.

Mrs Hudd said: “When I got home the kids wanted the grapes. I looked inside and saw a greyish white, like cotton wool. I lifted the grapes up and found a spider at the bottom. I shut the packet to see where the grapes were from and it said imported from Peru on the front – I thought ‘oh my God’.”

After extracting the spider with kitchen tongs, and squeezing the life out of it, Mrs Hudd was put in touch with the specialist and described its appearance.

She added: “He said not to worry about the cotton wool (eggs) because the spiders would not survive in our climate anyway.

“The spider looked literally identical to the picture he showed me and I started to panic.”

The mother of four had visited the Queensmere Observatory with her youngest son Tyga, aged one, and daughter Taysia, two, who were both in a pushchair. After purchasing the fruit from the market, she placed the grapes on Taysia’s lap for her to hold. But in the interim Taysia persuaded her mum to buy her some candyfloss.

Mrs Hudd said: “She held the grapes the whole time. She could have easily put her hand in there and got bitten had she not had been eating the candyfloss.”

A bite from a Chilean Recluse can cause severe allergic reactions although death is uncommon.

Manager of Adam’s Fruit, Adam Birou, said his produce was imported from a variety of countries, not just South America, and it depended on what suppliers had available. He said there was a system of checks in place and such an incident had never happened before.

He apologised to Mrs Hudd but said: “She should have come to see me. I will speak to my supplier and make sure it never happens again.”