Nude Pepero found crawling with maggotsA box of Lotte Confectionery’s Nude Pepero has been found to contain what appear to be tiny living maggots.
The company denies that the insect larvae could have entered the product during the manufacturing process.
The case first came into the spotlight on Nov. 11 when a customer reported having found 10 or so small maggots inside a pack of Nude Pepero to a local media outlet. Nov. 11 is celebrated as Pepero Day in Korea, with people gifting their friends and families boxes of the Lotte Confectionery snacks in a show of affection.
The customer that discovered the insect larvae had purchased the Pepero for her children at a local supermarket. A picture shared by the customer showed what appeared to be small, white maggots crawling all over the Nude Pepero sticks.
The family immediately complained to Lotte Confectionery and reported it to the Korea Consumer Agency.
Lotte employees visited the customer on Monday, but were not permitted to take the Nude Pepero away for further investigation. According to the photo and advice from professionals, the insects are most likely not maggots, which are fly larvae, but instead the larvae of the Indian meal moth. The Indian meal moth is the most common type of moth in Korea.
Lotte also checked other Nude Pepero at the supermarket that the customer purchased the box from, but found no other traces of Indian meal moth larvae. The company believes the larvae entered the product during the distribution process.
“Indian meal moth larvae are capable of penetrating vinyl packages,” said the spokesman. “There’s no way the insect could have entered during the manufacturing process, which involves high temperatures.”
The company also pointed out that this particular box of Nude Pepero had been manufactured in April. The Indian meal moth typically reaches full size in three weeks, and it has been seven months since the box left a Lotte Confectionery factory.
Lotte added that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety had conducted an inspection on its manufacturing facilities and concluded Tuesday morning that the factory was clear of issues that would have led to the incident.
BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [firstname.lastname@example.org]