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Fri, 24 Aug, 2018Melody Teh

Mum’s warning after disgusting discovery in kid’s lunchbox

Mum’s warning after disgusting discovery in kid’s lunchbox

A Kiwi mum is warning consumers to check for hidden mould in lunch boxes.

While cleaning her children's bento-style boxes, Bay of Plenty woman Grace Bollen pried open the lids, pulling apart layers of plastic that had been glued together, and found mould coating the surfaces. 

"I first discovered wee black bits coming out of the yellow lunch box so decided to investigate," she told Stuff. "I was absolutely horrified. I was actually in tears at the thought my son was taking a mouldy lunch box to school."

She published pictures in a Facebook post that has since been shared 1,400 times. She also contacted the suppliers of the lunch boxes.

"When I showed the kids they were stunned, upset because they love their lunch boxes, but they understood how gross they were."

Bollen said she washed the lunch boxes by hand each night and left them open to dry completely before morning. 

One of the lunch boxes had been in use for about a year, and the other for nine months.


Since posting her warning, Bollen said she had received more than 20 messages from people who had also found hidden mould in their lunch boxes.

"I'm not checking all of them as my inbox and Facebook notifications are going crazy."

The owners of Lunch Box Inc, which sold one of the affected lunch boxes, told Stuff they were looking into the problem.

"At this stage, we do not know the number of lunch boxes that may have been affected as we are still investigating the matter," said Nicky Skinner.

"Upon being notified of this situation, we immediately contacted our manufacturer and are awaiting their response."

Stuck on You, the Australian company which sold Bollen's second mouldy lunch box, released a statement.

"The wellbeing of children is paramount to all of us here at Stuck On You and we are committed to the highest levels of compliance and safety. And we take our customer feedback very seriously."

The company suggested that their bento boxes should be hand-washed in hot, soapy water as soon as possible after use. 

"Do not attempt to separate the silicon seal from the outer box," they said. "We highly recommend that even once dry you should keep the parts separate and store them in a well-ventilated area until ready to use again." 

Bollen's post was shared on the Happy Mum Happy Child Facebook page, where it attracted a lot of comment. 

"I personally have never encountered mouldy lunch boxes like this – but this could just be because of the type of lunch box my kids have," said Maria Foy of Happy Mum Happy Child.

"Although I've reviewed a lot of lunch boxes, most of the parts are removable (or sealed well enough) so that mould isn't an issue. The only thing I've ever come across is drink bottles that get mouldy, but that's not a new one."

Foy suggested that unless people owned a lunch box that had been identified as problematic, they should leave them intact.

"I would also hesitate to try and remove the existing seal because as soon as you do you ruin the lunch box."

If you want to check your lunch boxes without pulling apart the layers that have ben glued together, hold the lids up to the light. You should be able to see dark patches of mould if they are there.

Written by Eleanor Black. Republished with permission of Stuff.co.nz.