Bugs, Mouse Parts, and Rot! What the FDA Legally Allows.

Bug, Mouse parts, and rot?  Do you realize that bugs, dirt, and mouse residue is what the FDA legally allows? Bugs are already in the diet in Asia. There are companies making foods here in the US based on bugs such as crickets. Crickets can be made into chips and other snacks.  You say I would never eat bugs! You are already eating bugs!

The food we buy here in the US is safe and clean, right? We should not worry when we open a can of fruit, a bag of frozen berries,  or a box of macaroni and cheese.  You need to read this blog to learn the truth about what is allowed in the foods you buy every day.

Bugs. mouse and insect parts is what the FDA legally allows in our foods.
Are you eating bugs in your food?

Do you know what the FDA legally allows in that can of vegetables you just ate?

The majority of you reading this blog, have never been to the FDA website. The FDA has a whole website on regulations and laws concerning our food both fresh and packaged. It’s daunting to explore the hundreds of pages of technical rules and regulations for every aspect of food and herb manufacturing.

There is one FDA section you really ought to read. I would not be eating lunch while you read it.  It has pages on what bugs, bug parts, mouse parts, and filth can legally be found in your food called The  Food Defect Handbook here

This FDA section states that it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring unavoidable defects. This statement may shock you if you were born and raised in the cities.

What FDA Legally Allows: bugs might be ground into your noodles?
FDA Legally Allows: Corn and grain products can contain a certain count of bugs or parts of bugs.

Did you know that the FDA legally allows a certain amount of bugs, filth, and rot in the food you eat?

These defects include bugs, bug parts, mouse parts, mold, diseased leaves, parts of the plant such as root pieces or stems, dirt, weeds, bacteria, and plant leaf disease.

People who have grown up in the city, who have never watched how their vegetables, corn, and wheat are harvested might be really shocked. They don’t think too deeply about what went into that box of macaroni and cheese.  Their biggest concern is price and if it is organic or not. They may be concerned about the carb contents or if wheat is the main ingredient.  How many of you ask yourself if this product is clean in regard to insect contamination?

Even if you ponder that question, there is no way to get the answer easily unless you visibly see bugs in the package or suspicious debris in the flour.

The reality is that when we are eating that pre-baked store-purchased loaf of bread, we don’t usually think about possible insects milled into the flour. When we open a box of spaghetti, we don’t dwell on if insects were ground up in the original flour. Have you ever seen cricket chips which are made from crickets ground into a meal?  I tried them once and they tasted pretty good as long as you didn’t dwell on the ingredients. They look like a normal tortilla chip.

If you live in an agricultural area that grows hay and other crops, they process millions of pounds of corn and wheat per year. That combine comes through the field of corn very quickly. There are mice and bugs in that field eating away, thinking it is a great day. Those sharp blades suddenly hit those bugs or mice and they end up being processed along with the grain.

When millions of pounds are processed per year by machinery, do you honestly think it is going to be free from splintered-up bugs and the parts of the mice that were taken in with the grain?

When workers are harvesting your lettuce, they get paid on how much they pick, and the number of crates picked. Do they have time to examine each lettuce plant they pick for insects, insect-damaged leaves, diseased leaves, or mold? Even when you raise lettuce at home, it is easy to miss an aphid or more on the leaves.

This FDA page specifies different food products and what each food can legally contain in insects, insect parts, mouse parts, mouse hairs, bacteria, and mold, and considered safe.

Here are some examples below of the numerous pages of what the FDA Legally Allows : 

Berries: We all love them, putting them in our smoothies and as toppers on our ice cream. Berries can legally contain an average mold count of under 60%, insects and larvae under 4 per 500 grams including thrips, aphids, and mites.  No problem, you just added a little protein to your topping.

When we lived in TN, I grew mulberry trees. I love mulberries. I would go along and eat the berries right off the branches. One day, I was grazing along when I almost popped a berry in my mouth with a bee attached. After that, I was more careful as I ate them.  Some berries have mold on them as well.  We never froze any of our berries because they never made it to the house.  I never got sick from eating them that way. We had blackberries as well growing. I ate them off the vines too.  When you grow your own, you are not nearly as picky. It is generally felt, a bit of dirt is good for your immune system.

Broccoli, Frozen. Broccoli is one of the foods on the good vegetable list. Broccoli can contain up to 60 or more aphids, thrips, or mites per 100 grams. Yummy.

Cinnamon: I use it every day in our oatmeal and in smoothies. Cinnamon can contain up to 400 insect fragments and under 11 rodent hairs per 50 grams. Did you ever see something in your cinnamon power that looked suspicious, well now you know.

Oregano, Crushed: one of the most used herbs in the kitchen can contain under 300 or more insect fragments per 10 grams or under 2 rodent hairs per 10 grams.

Coffee Beans: There is nothing like the smell of fresh coffee beans.  Coffee beans can contain under 10% insects or insect-damaged coffee beans. Your coffee beans must contain under 10% of moldy beans. If you are sensitive to mold, your coffee may be to blame for your symptoms.

The problems with coffee containing mold are a real issue for many people. That is why you can now buy coffee beans that have less mold because of the way the coffee beans are grown and dried.  The problem is it is extremely expensive.  Coffee should be considered when evaluating your sensitivity to mold and its effect on you.

Cornmeal: I bake a loaf of organic cornmeal when I serve up some home-cooked beans.  Cornmeal can contain an average of 1 whole insect per 50 grams, under 25 insect fragments per 25 grams, and one rodent hair per 25 grams. I normally don’t really inspect the cornmeal unless visually something catches my eye.

Mushrooms, Canned and Dried: Acceptable is under 20 or more maggots of any size per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms OR an average of 5 or more maggots 2 mm or longer per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms.

Macaroni and Noodle products: acceptable is under 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples. Average of 4.5 rodent hairs or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples.

Egg and other Egg Products frozen– 2 or more cans decomposed and at least 2 sub-samples from decomposed cans can have direct microscopic counts of under 5 million or more bacteria per gram.

The importance of buying eggs locally from a trusted grower source.

This is why I why fresh eggs from our neighbor. I wash the eggs, crack them before I add them to the dish, then observe them to see if they are fresh. I know looking at the way the yolk looks if it is fresh. I have never used frozen egg products and never will, knowing what I do about commercial egg ranches and the quality of the eggs there.

Living in the depression gave you a different view of bugs in your food.

I have to relate a funny story at this point about my father-in-law who grew up during the depression. They barely survived during those times. It was pretty rough. When I cooked for him at almost 95, he would not eat any food with spices on it other than salt and pepper. The salt and pepper had to be added from the shakers, not already added to the food.  If spices were added during cooking, he would shove the plate away and say it had bugs in it. Nothing I said ever changed his mind.

To him, the spices looked like bugs. In those depression days, when he grew up, you did not throw away your flour if it had bugs in it. You barely had the money to buy flour at all. So you sifted out the bug and bug parts from the flour. That is why, in my mothers day you sifted the flour through a strainer into the cake you were baking.  After reading the FDA page, it is a good idea to do that now. If there is a mouse hair or two, the strainer will catch it.  I remember in Tennessee, I was making something with flour. I got the container out and scooped out two cups of it and poured it into the bowl.  Then looked at it to find maggot larvae in the flour.  If we were dirt poor, I might have just picked them out but I threw the flour away.

Most of us in the United States have not experienced poverty as in 3rd world countries.

In this day and age, most of us have not known about poverty here in this country. At least not to the degree of it as seen in parts of Mexico, and India. In many countries, people eat bug-infested food all the time. Their water is contaminated. They have crude sanitation available. We are pretty spoiled in this country. The only people who experienced eating food infested with bugs were our grandparents or perhaps our great grand-parents.

It’s important to understand, that food whether organic or conventionally grown cannot be perfect.  Food products contain a certain amount of dirt, actual ground-up bugs, bug debris, ground mouse parts or mouse hairs, mold, diseased plant matter, and vegetables that are not perfect.  It is reality.

We should be much more concerned about if the food is GMO or how much pesticide was sprayed on the crop before harvesting. This is the real issue with the conventional foods we eat today. 

Way back in 2000, I brought some greens home from the supermarket for our rabbits and chickens. I washed them off a bit, then fed them the greens. The next day, one rabbit was dead and several more were sick. There was pesticide residue still remaining on those greens, even though I washed them briefly.  It showed me the importance of thoroughly washing vegetables and greens before eating them.

It’s important to carefully visually inspect the produce and products we buy!

The most important thing is to visually inspect, then pick the freshest, highest quality organic fruit and vegetables in the produce bin. Examine them again well before you wash them at home. Organic food should be washed just as carefully as other vegetables since we have no guarantee of their origin. Eat the produce while fresh rather than leaving them in the crisper drawer until they look wilted.  All of us have forgotten that head of lettuce that when you find it later, is a science experiment.

If the food is processed such as cornmeal or flour, just realize that you may be eating more than just the corn, that is the reality. I hope this article will make you think more about the food you eat, where it comes from, and the quality of that food. That is why buying organic is important, although not guaranteed to be a better choice.

Read my article on Learn About Moringa Powder Supplement Quality and Dosage

Can You Trust Organic Certified Products?

Herbal Companies Who Test Their Products Extensively

Cathryn Freer, the Herbladyisin signing off.



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