A DEAD mouse inside a can of lager and an insect-infested bag of supermarket macaroni are just some of the grisly complaints flagged up to council food inspectors in the last five years.

Figures show supermarkets, takeaways, hotels and suppliers have failed at least 9,148 food standards tests since 2013, with hundreds of cases of mislabelling.

Hair-raising finds include a worm in a tin of lentil and vegetable soup sold in Asda and a large “wandering spider” discovered dead in a box of bananas, which had apparently travelled from Columbia all the way to the small, north-east town of Inverbervie.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Rumbles said the food sampling figures were an “insight into the services – big and small – which local authorities provide across Scotland”.

He said: “They are doing excellent work to make sure that the public are kept safe and informed amid a workload that is as large as ever.

“Yet under Nicola Sturgeon the amount of money given to them by central government has fallen by eight per cent.

“When people settle down for a meal or pick up some food on the go, they want to know that what they are eating is safe and what it purports to be.

Government particularly needs to look at companies’ responsibilities in relation to food labelling in light of recent tragic cases.

“Given the seriousness of some people’s allergies, this can’t be taken too seriously and there is a strong case for more robust regulation. This is not the glamorous end of governing but it is essential.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats asked local authorities how many tests have been carried out over the last five years, and what number were deemed to have failed.

Across the 24 out of 32 councils which provided figures, 9,148 of 90,578 tests were failed – more than 10 per cent. Some 1,741 failed due to mislabelling.

Meanwhile, a breakdown of tests provided by Aberdeenshire Council provides a stomach-churning insight into some of the food mishaps faced by customers and suppliers.

In 2015, macaroni bought in Tesco was found to contain “a minimum of 37 part or whole insects” alongside a “minimum of 22 small larvae-like objects”. They were later identified as grain weevils.

The testers added: “The insects were throughout the macaroni, either embedded in the pasta, within it, attached to the surfaces or loose.”

Coriander seeds in an Aberdeenshire hotel were also found to contain a “significant number of small winged insects”, later identified as seed wasps, which were “visible moving within the sealed bag”.

Meanwhile, a tin of Heinz baked beans and pork sausages contained a green bottle fly embedded within a sausage, while an entire mouse was apparently discovered in a can of lager.

Analysts said it was not clear when the mouse had entered the can.

In 2016, blood was found on a paper bag containing chips sold by an Aberdeenshire takeaway, while in another incident that year, a woman claimed to have cut her tongue after biting down on a supermarket sandwich containing shards of glass.

Elsewhere, a screw was found in carrot cake and in the pastry of a quiche, while in 2017 a worm was found in a tin of lentil and vegetable soup sold in Tesco.

Dr Jacqui McElhiney, head of food protection science and surveillance at Food Standards Scotland, said councils would take “appropriate action” against unsatisfactory test results.

She said: “These figures are based on samples collected by local authorities in Scotland over the last five years.

“Sampling programmes carried out by local authority enforcement officers and public analyst laboratories play a key role in protecting public health by verifying the safety and standards of foods placed on the market.

“Where any unsatisfactory results are found, the relevant local authority will take appropriate action to ensure the business is compliant with the relevant legislation and to prevent the sale of products which may be unsafe or labelled in a way which misleads the consumer.

“Consumers rightly expect that the food they buy is what it says it is on the label. Food Standards Scotland works closely with local authorities in relation to all aspects of food standards and safety and will always act in the public’s interests.

“We would urge consumers to contact their Local Authority Environmental Health Department when they have any concerns regarding the safety or quality of the food they have purchased.”

The statistics uncovered by the LibDems reveal a substantial disparity in testing figures across Scotland, with some councils carrying out far more checks than others. 

This includes vast differences between urban areas. Aberdeen City Council recorded 18,923 tests between 2013 and 2017, compared to just 7,071 in Glasgow. Meanwhile, Dundee carried out only 1,723.

Some major local authority areas such as Edinburgh, Inverclyde and Dumfries and Galloway did not provide figures. 

Across the five years, 1,741 of those tested failed because of food mislabelling. In one case, a meal listed as being made from local ingredients was found to contain chicken from the Netherlands.