The woman, who had been shopping in Aitkenvale, in Queensland’s tropical north, noticed there were holes in the sliced bread as she was packing her bags into the car.
“I said to my friend, ‘this bread’s got a hole in it, it looks like a rat’s eaten into it’,” the woman, who asked not to be identified, told the Australian Associated Press.
When she lifted the bag out she found a live rodent had chewed through the packaging and was lurking inside.
“The thought of a live rat in my loaf of bread and so close to me was pretty gruesome,” she said.
“I didn’t want to vomit, I just wanted to throw it away, I got all squeamish.”
Pictures in the Townsville Bulletin newspaper showed the rat inside the loaf’s plastic packaging.
The woman took the bread back to the supermarket after the discovery Sunday but they were reluctant to take responsibility, she told the newspaper.
“It came from their shop but they are saying it was in the bread before it was delivered to the shop,” she said.
A spokesman for Coles supermarkets said the incident was “obviously concerning” but isolated and the company would investigate.
Townsville City Council Environmental Health executive manager Gavin Hammond confirmed a complaint had been received.
“While it’s virtually impossible to ascertain where the rodent came from, the council takes public health very seriously and has carried out an inspection of the supermarket and the bakery,” he told the Bulletin.
“We are satisfied that they have complied with all health requirements.”