A Newport dad bought some coriander from his local Tesco, only to find a poisonous weed inside.

Builder Peter Burrrows had popped to the supermarket chain's Express branch in Malpas Road yesterday to get some ingredients to make a Mexican meal for tea with his young son.

But he later discovered the packet he'd picked up contained ragwort, an invasive toxic weed that can be harmful if ingested.

And the 39-year-old said it was lucky he caught a glimpse of the plant just before six-year-old Harry managed to get his hands on it.

However, when he complained, he was offered a refund of £1 to his online Tesco account.

"We were going to knock up a salsa dip, so the coriander was going to go in that," said Peter, who runs his own construction firm.

"Thankfully, I have done some farming in the past and know exactly what ragwort looks like. I've also seen it growing on numerous sites I've worked on over the years.

"Had I not, it would have been chopped up and served to my little lad."

He added that, while ragwort presented a greater threat to livestock, especially when eaten in large quantities, it could still be a serious health risk to people, causing liver cells to die when consumed.

The ragwort which Peter found in his packet of reduced coriander

Long term intake can cause the liver to fail altogether.

Peter added: "My issue is this; if that amount of ragwort was in the packet I bought, how much more of it is out there being unsuspectingly used at meal times by others?

"And, when i phoned up the customer help line to complain, I was told to return it to the store where I'd bought it and fill in a form - I couldn't do it online."

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He added that the £1 refund he was given by Tesco "wouldn't have even covered the costs of the fuel I'd use to drive back up there."

"And it doesn't matter that the coriander was reduced to 49p, I just don't feel like they took the situation seriously at all."

The reply Peter received from Tesco explained that the ragwort had 'most likely' been 'picked up as part of the harvesting process'.

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"Every one of our products is inspected for items such as stones, roots or weeds before we accept it," added the email.

"If the crop doesn't pass this inspection, we reject it immediately. 

"Nonetheless, as with all fresh fruit and vegetables, despite our stringent checks at various stages of the production process, there is always a chance that we will miss something.

"It is disappointing you still found this despite these checks."

The Tesco spokesperson added that they had also made the supplier of the coriander aware of the issue for future quality monitoring purposes.