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Here in the United States, we’re pretty squeamish about chomping into insects or stabbing our forks into larvae. And that’s why it might come as a shock to discover that, because of the FDA’s lax food-safety regulations, your food might very well be crawling with creepy, slimy, buzzing things of all sorts. In fact, it’s been estimated that the average person unintentionally eats a pound of insects every year. And I’m not talking about gummy worms here. I’m talking about real live (or formerly live) bugs.

THRIPS

At anywhere from 1/25 to 1/8 of an inch long, these tiny little winged parasites are legally allowed in apple butter, canned or frozen asparagus, frozen broccoli, and frozen Brussels sprouts.

 

APHIDS

Those same little green or black bugs that can destroy a bouquet of flowers can infiltrate your frozen veggies, particularly spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. And if you home-brew beer, you might consider growing your own hops: The FDA legally allows 2,500 aphids for every 10 grams of hops.

 

MITES

These tiny white bugs are common in wheat and other grains that have been stored for a while, but expect to eat a few with your frozen vegetables. And if you have indoor allergies, that could be a problem. Storage and grain mites can cause the same type of allergic reaction as the dust mites common in homes.

MAGGOTS

If you’ve ever eaten canned food, you’ve probably also eaten a maggot. These disgusting little critters abound in things like canned mushrooms, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and pizza sauces, as well as fresh or frozen Maraschino cherries. Mushrooms are by far the worst: 20 maggots are allowed for every 100 grams of drained mushrooms, compared with between 1 and 5 for every 500 grams of tomato products.

 

FRUIT FLIES

Buy a piece of fruit covered in fruit flies, and you can wash them off. Buy a can of citrus juice, and you’ll be swilling five fruit flies with every 8-ounce cup of juice. Grab an 8-ounce handful of raisins and you could be eating as many as 35 fruit-fly eggs.

 

CORN EAR WORMS

Corn is notoriously difficult to grow organically, because it’s prone to insect infestations. But in most cases, it’s easy to avoid eating the earworms that burrow into corncobs and eat the silk—just cut the kernels off the cob, and voilà! However, canned sweet corn will come with some extra crunch from all the larvae, skins, and skin fragments allowed by the FDA.

I’M GAGGING MYSELF AS I WRITE THIS ARTICLE..I CAN’T CONTINUE WITH THE REST…OMG, NOTHING IS SAFE ANYMORE!!! 😦

 

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