In some parts of the world, bugs are considered a healthy source of protein. Many don’t think twice about popping a cricket or worm into their mouths when they want a quick snack. In the United States, however, we generally shy away from consuming insects. What you may not know, however, is that the FDA’s position is that some bugs in food are perfectly acceptable, as long as you can’t see them. In fact, for every 100 grams of food, up to 60 insect parts are considered “safe” to eat. As a result, you probably eat way more bugs than you ever realized. The following foods are sure to surprise you, as they all contain their fair share of insect parts.
Most of us have a weakness for chocolate. However, the next time you reach for a bar at the checkout line of the grocery store, consider this: there’s probably around eight insect parts inside the savory treat. In fact, people who are allergic to chocolate may actually be allergic to cockroaches instead. Cocoa beans naturally attract the little creatures as they grow, which means it is almost impossible to find a chocolate treat that does not have some level of contamination.
Do you remember those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches you loved as a kid? Your parents probably did not realize they were unintentionally packing you a healthy dose of bug as well. For every 100 grams of peanut butter, there can be 30+ insect parts and even a few rodent hairs mixed in with the product. In an average 18 ounce jar, then, there might be five or six rodent hairs and more than 150 insect parts!
To get in a hearty dose of green vegetables, many people turn to frozen spinach. However, for every 100 grams of the food, there could be four dozen mites and aphids mixed in, along with caterpillar larvae. To avoid the bugs, try selecting fresh spinach and other produce. Some of the contamination is washed away in the cleaning process. With frozen foods, however, you can’t tell what is lurking in there.
If you have a sweet tooth, beware. Some of the little treats you love so much are covered with a substance known as shellac, which is a secretion from a Thailand insect. Shellac is a part of candy corn, milk duds, junior mints, jelly beans, and other hard candies. If you love these treats, shellac is a part of your diet.
Eating bugs is fairly common in other parts of the world. However, in the United States, we generally don’t feast on insects. However, whether we like it or not, bugs are a part of our diet. The four foods listed above are just a few of the ones that contain insect parts. To minimize your consumption of these little critters, stay away from processed foods as much as possible. Also, read ingredient lists so you know what is in the food that you eat. And, of course, to avoid contamination in your own home, keep your living space as clean as possible and hire a pest control specialist if you find any little creatures near your food supply.