Latest Tampering Case Has Supermarkets in Pa.'s Lehigh Valley on Pins and Needles

WIND GAP, Pa. -- In the latest instance of tampering in the area, a sealed can of Progresso minestrone purchased Saturday at a Giant Food Store here was found to contain a "slightly rusty" sewing needle. This was the fifth report of needles or pins discovered in products bought from area food stores over the past two weeks.

In response, Giant has pulled Progresso soup with similar lot numbers from the shelves of all 255 of its stores in six states, encompassing the Giant, Martin's Food Stores, and Tops Markets banners, and stepped up undercover security measures. The grocer has also contacted the manufacturer of Progresso soups, Minneapolis-based General Mills; the Wind Gap police department, the state Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"We hope to get to the bottom of this very soon," Denny Hopkins, Giant's spokesman, told Progressive Grocer.

The latest reported incident differs from earlier ones in that the needle this time was found inside a sealed soup can, indicating tampering during the manufacturing process, while the past instances -- a sewing needle found buried in a loaf of Stroehmann bread bought at a Bethlehem, Pa. Giant, and pins discovered in an onion and ground beef, and a ham at a King's Supermarket in Bethlehem -- appear to indicate tampering at a later stage. No link has yet been determined between the occurrences.
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