Yuck! Bugs in the Tomato Juice?

Salmonella in peanut butter is gross! But there’s something much creeper lurking in our food. The FDA calls them “natural contaminants” and they’re found in everything from curry, tomato paste, mushrooms and beer, stuff like bug eggs, mites, parasites, sand, grit and even rodent hair. A can of mushrooms may contain more than 20 maggots per 100 grams, curry is allowed 100 or more bug pieces per 25 grams and an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter can have roughly 125 milligrams of grit or 5 rodent hairs; The New York Times reports.

Good excuse to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to wash them. Pesticide residue can ruin your day, i.e. boosting cancer-risk. Raw milk is another gross food too. To date, 26 states prohibit the sale of raw milk for human consumption. Cows’ stomachs host a variety of nasty buggers, like salmonella, E. coli and listeria. All can kill you.

Yucky, I just puked in my mouth a little. The bug remnants thing reminds me of the FDA’s crackdown on using crushed beetles to make foods red and purple.

Image credit: joka2000

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Melissa Hoffman - February 18, 2009 7:45 AM

I think it's important to put "contaminants" in context here: there are contaminants from industrial processing and lack of proper sanitation, and "contaminants" that are found in organic, home-garden produce all the time. The former are a matter of carelessness, the latter are part of life, and even signal the LACK of danger (those empty aphid eggs on organic kale leaves, for example). We eat bugs all the time. And soil microbes. Probably even rodent hair if we live in the country! It only makes sense that these would make it into our food system. Freaking out too much over "natural contaminants" would leave us with chemically-dosed and irradiated food.

And a plug for raw milk (even though I don't consume any dairy now), if the cow is healthy, on a predominantly grass-based diet (an alkaline rumen doesn't host those nasties),and is milked properly, the dangers of non-pasteurization are dramatically minimized. Bessie in the back yard may be a lot safer than buying ultra-pasteurized, grain-fed, RGBH-dosed, puss-containing, high-volume production milk coming from confinement dairies.

The point: context is everything here.

McBloggenstein - February 18, 2009 8:35 AM

Yummy!
Up to 20 maggots in a can of mushrooms?

I remember my older brother annoying me with the knowledge that there are bugs in cheese (just like any other "accepted processing contamination"). I thought he was just being mean at the time.

I wasn't old enough to realize that it's normal for processed foods.

Steve - February 18, 2009 9:38 AM

Hi Gerry
These small amounts of animal contaminants correlate with human's very small (but non zero) vitamin B12 requirements. Coincidence?

I've mentioned this before, but when my father was a young boy (1920's to 1930's) in Wales, raw milk killed a lot of people in his community. I would not go near it.

Cheers, Steve

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