After shopping at a local Aldi supermarket, a woman was outraged after she got home and inspected her groceries. Now, she’s demanding financial compensation, alleging that her religious beliefs were violated.
When 39-year-old Rianne Ward converted to Islam seven years ago, she knew that she’d have to change her lifestyle in order to adhere to the religion’s numerous compulsions. Everything from her shopping habits to the food she eats must align with her Islamic values, lest she finds that she has accidentally sinned.
Business owners live in constant fear of offending their customers. While many consumers’ concerns are legitimate, there are bound to be a few that threaten to destroy the livelihoods of hard-working entrepreneurs if they’re not handled properly.
After bringing in a grocery haul from an Aldi in Derby, England, Ward cooked her family a pasta dish using the foodstuffs she had recently purchased from the local supermarket. However, once she tasted her dinner, she realized that one of the grocery items had possibly caused her to violate one of the most prominent precepts of Islam.
After tasting the creamy lasagna alfredo sauce she had purchased from the Aldi store on Burton Road, Ward is adamant that the supermarket sold her a vegetarian product that had been tainted with pork. Ward says that she “smelt something odd” about the meat-free sauce only to try and taste what she believes is a distinct bacon flavor, she told Derbyshire Live.
She said: “I just sat down and my young son said ‘Mummy, this smells like bacon.’ When I ate it, it tasted just like bacon which made me feel sick. I was absolutely seething and went back down to the store. I just went in with the jar of sauce and made them smell it. I thought it must have been contaminated.”
Ward was instantly furious and feels that she is entitled to financial compensation from Aldi. However, the chain refused to offer her compensation, adding that they tried to explain to Ward that it was carbonara sauce, which would explain the smokey flavor that she is confusing for bacon. Still, Ward vehemently rejects their explanation, insisting that she deserves compensation.
The spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear Miss Ward is unhappy with this product and can reassure her the lasagne sauce is completely meat free. The product is flavoured with smoked salt which gives it its distinctive taste.”
Since she only converted to Islam less than a decade ago, Ward maintains that she can easily recognize the distinct taste and smell of bacon. She claims that tasting the flavor has caused her suffering, as she believes she has “betrayed” the tenets of Islam.
She added: “I’m absolutely furious. I’ve been a Muslim for years now and avoided bacon for so long. Then this happens. I felt like I’d betrayed my religion. Aldi have told me they are going to test the sauce to see if it has been contaminated. It’s just not on.”
Despite the store’s assurance that the bacon flavor is merely the smokey additive, Ward insists that she was sold a jar that was contaminated with pork. As such, she’s seeking compensation, although she didn’t specify how much money she is requesting.
She said: “There was no bacon in it because it had a vegetarian label but a staff member kept telling me it was a carbonara sauce. It isn’t. It’s just a white sauce but that shouldn’t explain why it tastes like bacon.”
Ward has filed a formal complaint and is going through with the process of demanding legal compensation. However, she will have to wait for tests to conclude whether or not the vegetarian sauce actually contained pork or any other meat.
Ward has kept some of the sauce in her refrigerator as “evidence” of the crime she believes has taken place. However, even if pork was found in the sauce, it would be difficult to distinguish if it had been contaminated by the company or an outside source.
For now, Ward hopes to atone for her accidental sin she possibly committed for consuming what she insists was bacon. Unfortunately for her, it doesn’t appear as though the company and store will offer her anything more than an explanation. As for the product, Aldi will continue to sell the smokey flavored sauce for those who enjoy the taste of bacon without having to consume the meat itself.