The federal government allows things to get packaged with our food, everyday-things they even call filth.
You would expect a can of tomatoes to have exactly that, tomatoes. But what about fly eggs, maggots, and mold? This is just one of many examples of filth in your food and the government says it's okay!
Imagine a delicious Italian dinner full of your favorite pasta, topped with tomatoes and maggots? That's right. According to the federal government things like mildew, fly eggs and maggots, just to name a few, are found in processed food most of us eat every day.
The Food and Drug Administration determines what amounts of filth are small enough to be allowed in your food. They're called unavoidable defects.
The government will only take action when filth in your food exceeds legal limits. Which means defects just under that level could end up on your plate. For example, you could find a Larvae in 12 pounds of canned peaches, two-percent of the fruit moldy and wormy.
In canned cherries you could find seven-percent of pieces rejected due to rot and four- percent rejected due to insects.
Now obviously most of us don't recognize these appetizing additives. Partly because we're talking about relatively small levels of these defects. Like one mg of urine or sweat from mammals in a pound of whole black pepper. Or four or more rodent hairs in 25 grams of curry powder.
And while the thought of insects and rodent hair in your sage and oregano is enough to make you lose your appetite, it's not the same as say a whole frog found in Kroger brand peas bought a local grocery store last year. We're talking about fragments of these defects. And these FDA guidelines are just the minimum food processors are expected to follow.
Still the FDA maintains it's not economically feasible to completely eliminate defects like rodent excreta pellets in your popcorn and some customers say they will take their chances with the bugs than pay more for food.
If you find more than 150 insect fragments and five rodent hairs in your peanut butter too much to swallow, the local health department says they are always available to help you determine if your food is unsafe.