star lobster seafood market toronto

Someone is claiming they found 'worms' in seafood purchased from Toronto store

Someone in Toronto was recently dismayed to see what looked like little worms crawling around on their plate after they cooked seafood purchased from a local market.

Star Lobster Seafood Market is a family-run business known for their selection of live shellfish and fish including lobster and crab, which they sell to popular Chinese restaurants and can also prepare for you in-store.

A video shows a tiny insect of some kind writhing around someone's plate of seafood, who had just purchased it and had it prepared by the store on October 6.

"We basically threw away everything when we saw worms. We ignored the first one because we thought, ok we don't have fruit flies but that's what it probably is, and lied to ourselves," Charmaine Law, who took the video, tells blogTO.

"Then when we saw worm two and three we threw everything out and even the food we bought elsewhere, vegetables and noodles."

They say they spent about $150 on the food with worms in it: hot pot set A with 75 fresh shrimp and three lobsters for a total price of $108 plus $38.

"I reached out and advised of the problem, they sent me a note saying that it's normal and to eat it," says Law.

"When I asked again today since I was not happy with the answer they told me they are not responsible for natural worms and offered a $20 credit. I also tried to call them but no one picked up."

Screenshots show Law reaching out to Star about a "moving thing in the food" and the restaurant replying that "it was from the oyster shell probably, don't worry they are not harmful to humans."

When Law pressed for further explanation as to the presence of the organism and told the restaurant they had thrown everything out already, Star reiterated that these little guys are often attached to oysters.

Law continued to say they were scared by the issue and would like a refund, to which the restaurant replied that they weren't able to offer refunds for naturally occuring incidents but appreciated the feedback, which is when they offered the $20.

Law simply replied to the store that they've never had this issue with buying seafood anywhere else.

"We had explained to the customer that the organism seen in the picture is naturally occurring and is non-harmful. Unfortunately, they had thrown out the seafood products first, before contacting us and then asked for a refund," a rep from Star Lobster tells blogTO.

"It's very disappointing," says Law. "Not even an apology."

Star Lobster issued this statement:

Regarding the incident in question - the customer had purchased, aside from the lobster and Dungeness crab as seen in the video - live mussels, live manila clams, live oysters and shrimps. We have shown this video to our supplier and they have confirmed that the moving organisms in the video are actually intertidal shrimp that live on the shell of oysters. These oysters are not treated chemically or in any other form so you will occasionally see live sea life on the shells or in the cracks of the oysters, just like how live crabs are sometimes also found. The existence of these intertidal shrimp are an indication that neither we nor our suppliers spray or treat the oysters in any other way nor are they contaminated. Our supplier has advised us that they actually take pride in such fresh seafood.

It is normal for live seafood to have naturally occurring organisms attached to them.

The client had thrown away the seafood product and then contacted us after the fact. We were not given the opportunity to investigate the situation. However, we had explained to them that the organisms are "naturally occuring incidents" and that there are no health concerns. All that is required to be done is to remove and wash the seafood, before cooking.

Despite the fact that we were contacted after they had thrown away the seafood and without reaching out to us first, we offered them a $20 credit. It is not usually our store policy to offer refunds, but we decided to do so as a gesture of goodwill.

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