Bon Appetit

It is inevitable that a certain number of impurities make their way into the food we eat. But how much? How about some rodent dung in your coffee? Maggots in your pizza sauce? Mold in the jelly on your toast? Known as “food defects,” these “bits n’ bites” are the unfortunate byproduct of growing and harvesting food. While there’s no way to get rid of all the creatures that might hitch a ride along the food processing chain, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration in the U.S.) has established standards to keep food defects to a minimum. Here are some highlights of what you may unknowingly eat in a typical day:
• Coffee beans:  allowed to have an average of 10 milligrams or more animal poop per pound. As much as 4% to 6% of beans are also allowed to be insect-infested or moldy.
• Peanut butter:  One or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments are allowed for every 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
• Jam:  Cherry jam can be 30% moldy, black currant jam can be 75% moldy.
• Tomato juice:  Up to four maggots and 20 or more fruit fly eggs.
• Canned citrus juice:  Five or more fruit fly eggs per cup (250 ml). Or one or more maggots.
• 16 oz. box of spaghetti:  50 insect parts and nine rodent hairs.
• Canned tomatoes, tomato paste and sauces like pizza sauce:  About two maggots in a 16 oz. can.
• Mushrooms:  An average of 20 or more maggots of any size per 4 oz. can.
• Spices: Crushed oregano can contain 300 or more insect bits and about two rodent hairs for every 10 grams (A family-size bottle of oregano is about 510 grams). Paprika can have up to 20% mold, about 75 insect parts and 11 rodent hairs for every 25 grams (That’s just under an ounce. A typical spice jar holds about 2 to 3 oz).

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