You Eat Bugs Every Single Day So Quit Freaking Out About It


If you truly are what you eat, congratulations because you’re now a bug! Even with pesticides and other poisons engineered for food, large traces of bug parts — like wings, thoraxes and heads — are getting into your food. In fact, it’s likely that you eat up 1 and 2 pounds of bugs each year. At least that’s the buzzzzzzzz, y’feel me?

Whereas most of the human world doesn’t really care about eating bugs, we Americans are really dumb and squeamish about it. Because we’re such big cry babies, the FDA has specific limitations on how much of certain types of food can be made up by creepy crawlies.

As Kyle Hill writes for Scientific American:

The FDA’s Defect Levels Handbook lays it all out. Staples like broccoli, canned tomatoes, and hops readily contain “insect fragments”—heads, thoraxes, and legs—and even whole insects. (I won’t tell you about the rat hair limits…) Fig paste can harbor up to 13 insect heads in 100 grams; canned fruit juices can contain a maggot for every 250 milliliters; 10 grams of hops can be the home for 2,500 aphids.

Beer, bread and chocolate are also high in bug content, but — if you’re like me — you’re probably stuck on “rat hair limits.”

Let’s do our best to push on.

As Hill later points out, the bug limits made by the FDA are “aesthetic limits,” meaning they entirely have to do with what makes food look edible and nothing to do with actual health. In fact, bugs can be very good for you. As the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization recently reported, the pests might actually be the answer to a global food crisis.

So why can’t we all just chill out, sit back and share a grub like normal people? Growing up in Wisconsin meant that I was always lucky enough to be close to farm fresh produce so for me, finding an earwig in corn or a worm in my broccoli was less something that grossed me out and more a reminder of where my food came from.

I’m not saying we all need to be super relaxed about, but come on — it’s much healthier/less gross to eat bugs than it is to eat the insecticides that kill them. Now pass the damn flies

Don’t Bug Out, But Your Food Is Covered in Insects [Scientific American]

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin