How many bug parts are in your ketchup?
According to the Food and Drug Administration and their guidance to our food manufacturers, there are probably quite a few insects in your ketchup and other foods you eat. Tomato worms, flies, beetles, spiders, and rat hair are just a few of the “added ingredients” you’ll be consuming. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American eats one to two pounds of bug parts each year without even knowing it. Of course, there’s a simple explanation for this: despite the world’s best pest control regulations and policies, there’s no way our growers can keep all the bugs out of our food. So the FDA allows a certain amount of bug parts and rat hair in our food.
Bug parts are a natural part of any harvest
When corn, wheat, vegetables and fruits are harvested, the bugs found in the field become a natural part of the process. Additionally, insects and critters (such as rats) gain access to stored, harvested food and infest it as well. You can easily understand this if you have ever cultivated your own garden. Despite spraying with the correct dose of Ortho, you still find earwigs in your lettuce, flies around your strawberries, and tomato worms on your ‘maters’. It’s impossible to keep the little buggers away. So you can easily see how this problem would increase for our food producers (who do a great job for us, by the way).
When it comes to controlling parts of bugs in our food, our food producers and the FDA agree that more pesticides is not a viable option. They believe it is wise to accept more “natural pollutants” instead of increasing the amount of pesticides. And they are right. Striving for a balanced insect control policy is their most responsible option, so that’s what they do. Which means you and I will eat several pounds of bugs a year. Hey, it has added protein, right?
What parts of errors are allowed?
Now the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created grading standards that protect Americans from bad farming. Manufacturers must follow these standards, which set legal limits for spoilage and natural contaminants. Working with the USDA, the FDA created a “Food Defect Action Level” that lists acceptable levels of contaminants for crops of various foods. Now, don’t get mad here, but these bug parts include worms, insect fragments, mold, rat hair, mammal droppings, and crushed bugs. Hmmm…I wonder how many spiders are in a can of spinach?
So what’s in what? You can check out Food Defect Action Level for a full list, but here are some highlights:
* chocolate – 60 insect fragments per 100 grams, 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams.
* macaroni – 225 insect fragments in 225 grams and/or 4.5 rodent hairs in 225 grams.
* popcorn – 2 rodent hairs per kilogram and/or 20 or more popped kernels per kilogram
* peanut butter – 30 insect fragments per 100 grams and/or 1 rodent hair per 100 grams
* coffee – up to 10% of beans can be infected. (doesn’t say with what)
* potato chips – up to 6% of potatoes may contain rot.
Of course, these are just a few of the long and extensive list of fault parts. But it is an eye-opener to the food collection process and the balanced problem-solving approach used by our food manufacturers and the FDA. Food is collected for the tables in the best and responsible way. Unfortunately, bugs will always be a natural scourge and an unwitting participant in our diet. Hey, no process is perfect. Please pass the ketchup.
#bug #parts #ketchup