What are we eating?


There’s an old myth that there are approximately 8 bug legs in every bar of chocolate. Just the thought of this makes me want to give up the beloved Milky Way or Hershey’s bar every now and then. So I decided to do some research, but the results were disturbing enough to make anyone think twice before listing chocolate as their favorite food. But according to the Food and Drug Administration 8 legs is nothing!

The FDA has a system in which they have created a list called the Food Defect Action Levels list where they have decided the legal amount of unavoidable defects that pose absolutely no threat when consumed by humans that can be found in a single product. These unavoidable defects are non hazardous and naturally occurring and common. The list contains fruits and vegetables along with junk foods that are allowed to have some interesting extra ingredients.

Bug legs and parts being one of the most common unavoidable defects in most foods does not leave much room for more disturbing defects but if you thought legs were your only problem; you’re wrong they are the least of your worries. Things such as rat hairs, fly heads, mold, and even poop can also be find their ways into some of Americas most loved and devoured foods without posing any real harm.

Favorite foods?

Not anymore…here are just a few munchy foods included straight from the FDA’s Food Defect Action Levels list that may have you throwing in the towel on famous junk foods.

Chocolate or Chocolate Liquor

Insect Parts: Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined OR Any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments

Rodent Filth: Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined OR Any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs

Peanut Butter

Insect Parts: Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams

Rodent Filth: Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams

Grit: Gritty taste & water insoluble inorganic residue is more than 25 mg per 100 grams

Potato Chips

Rot: Average of 6% or more pieces by weight contain rot

Tomato Paste, Pizza, and Other Sauces

Mold: Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 34% or more and the counts of all of the sub samples are more than 30%

Drosophila fly: Average of 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams OR 15 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 100 grams OR 2 or more maggots per 100 grams in a minimum of 12 subsamples.

After learning all my new kool facts I decided to share my knowledge with the rest of the world. I walked over to fireside and found my best friend, Jamie Consolatti, a junior at Castleton States and we grabbed lunch we always do every Wednesday. Since I always order something and Jamie brings her own lunch I quickly ordered my food and arrived back at the table anxious to tell my bff all about my new discovery when I looked at the table and become mortified.

Not only was Jamie devouring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but she had a bag of potato chips and a Hershey’s chocolate bar for dessert. Not only could I not inform her under these circumstances of what she was consuming but I had to watch her basically consume rat hairs, fly poop and possibly mold without even knowing.

To top it all off she looked up from her rodent hair filled lunch and asked me if I wanted a bite. I kindly declined her VERY resistible offer and decided it may be best to tell her another time.

So next time you sit down to have a bowl of Macaroni and cheese and see a little fly head in it, a late night bag of popcorn and find a small dark rat hair, or even bite down on a mouth watering bar of chocolate and happen to hear the little crunch of a bug leg; don’t fret it is all perfectly safe! Even Joanie M., a registered nurse at Rutland Community Health Center admits “It may sound gross but i always go by what the FDA says and if they say its fine; it’s fine.”


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