An 11-year-old girl made a horrifying discovery when cleaning out her pet guinea pigs- finding a rotten deer leg with decomposing flesh inside a bag of hay.
Isabel Henderson let out a piercing scream after finding the leg inside a bag of Bob Martin My Little Friend Meadow Hay, which she opened for her pet guinea pigs Ginny and Squeak.
When her father James peered into the 3kg sack he discovered the 1ft long decomposing deer leg and a shiny black cloven hoof sticking out.
'It was really a disturbing and shocking incident,” said the father-of-one. "It's an awful thing for an 11-year-old-girl to see but she has coped with it rather bravely. I was in the kitchen making breakfast, and I just heard this terrific scream.
'Then Isabel came running past me shouting 'There's something dead in the bag, dad!'
'My wife didn't want to look so I had to deal with it,' he added.
'There was this black cloven hoof sticking out of the hay, it was all a bit grim. I pulled it out and it was clearly a deer leg with bits of fur and decomposing flesh attached to it. It was curled up but extended I should think the thing was about 1ft long.
'The worrying thing is where is the rest of the body is - there could be some poor family out there with a whole head in their hay."
The hay, made by manufacturers Bob Martin, is advertised as a ‘fresh and hygienic'.
Mr Henderson, a communications consultant, bought the £1.99 bag from Sainsbury's in South Woodford, East London. He contacted the store’s customer service before returning the leg to a shocked shopping assistant.
“It is not just a little mistake it is pretty bad for a supermarket to sell a product with a deer leg in it,” he said.
"I think they need to look into this product to make sure it doesn't happen again, because this was a pretty traumatic experience for a young child. We gave it back to the store and they said they will investigate the incident and contact their supplies.
"But I certainly think we should get some sort of recompense for this."
Isabel, who was getting ready for school at the time of the bizarre discovery said: “It was very scary and when I told my friends at school, they couldn't believe it. I will carry on feeding Ginny and Squeak and putting down their hay, but I think I will get my dad to open the bags from now on.”
A spokeswoman for Bob Martin said: "We would like to express our sincere apologies to James and Isabel Henderson for any distress caused following the discovery of animal matter in a pack of Bob Martin Meadow Hay.
"Before being packed into little bales, the untreated natural hay is visually inspected and mechanically screened to get the undersize material out.
"However, due to the nature of the harvesting and automated packing processes, preventing foreign objects from ending up in the hay, including plant life and, on extremely rare occasion's animal matter, cannot be guaranteed.
"Our Quality Team will be reviewing processes to see how we can best prevent a reoccurrence."
A spokesman for Sainsbury added: “Naturally we are very alarmed and would like to sincerely apologise to the Henderson family. We are urgently investigating this with our supplier.'