Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

8 Grossest Things the FDA Allows in Your Food

Food
8 Grossest Things the FDA Allows in Your Food

No matter how unhealthy or disgusting it may seem, it’s pretty much inevitable that there’s some sort of ick-producing thing in the food we eat. It’s true even for food grown in your own backyard—produce from your garden often comes with a healthy dose of dirt and bugs.

But on an industrial scale? Well, the same holds true there: dirt, grime, bugs, mold, parasites—you name it. It’s pretty much impossible to grow food that is 100 percent free of any foreign matter. But that doesn’t get food producers off the hook—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does, in fact, regulate the amount of stuff that is allowed in certain foods.

Photo credit: Care2

But if your homegrown spinach can be covered in gross stuff, is it really all that shocking that commercially-grown spinach can, too? The FDA makes the important point that these levels are not, well, normal—they just represent the absolute highest amount of foreign matter allowed. The FDA assures us in the introduction to its defect guide, “The defect levels do not represent an average of the defects that occur in any of the products—the averages are actually much lower.”

It’s not totally likely that most of the food you eat is crawling with bugs and covered in dirt and, as the FDA also points out, these concerns are mostly aesthetic, not health-related. So while it might seem absolutely disgusting that there are so many creepy-crawlies in the foods we eat, but it’s not nearly as dangerous as it sounds.

Read on for some of the least-appetizing things the FDA allows in our food system. (Just don’t read this list before lunch).

1. Mold in Cranberry Sauce

This Thanksgiving staple can contain an average 14 percent mold count in each can.

2. Bugs in Frozen Broccoli

Teeny-tiny pests like thrips, aphids and mites can wreak havoc in both backyard gardens and commercially-grown crops. Frozen broccoli is allowed to contain as many as 59 of these bugs per 100 grams of florets.

3. Rodent Hair in Flour

Find any more than one rodent hair per 50 grams of flour and you’re in trouble. And, yep, that means that it’s perfectly okay for a one-pound bag of flour to contain eight rodent hairs.

4. Maggots in Canned Mushrooms

Canned mushrooms can contain 19 maggots per 100 grams after they’ve been drained and will still fall within the FDA’s regulations.

5. Pits in Pitted Olives

Oh, that terrible feeling when you bite into an olive that’s supposed to be pitted and you find, well, a pit. The FDA allows a little more than one percent of pitted olives to contain whole pits or pit fragments.

6. Fly Eggs in Canned Citrus Juice 

Nope, that isn't pulp—canned citrus can contain up to four fly eggs per 250 ml. This means that, for every gallon of canned citrus juice, there can be up to 15 fly eggs.

7. Sand and Grit in Raisins 

Sand and whatever the FDA means by the term “grit” can be present in raisins at a rate of up to 40 mgs per 100 grams.

8. Parasitic Cysts in Blue Fin/Freshwater Herring 

Phew! Not every single one of these fish can contain parasitic cysts—just 59 percent of the catch. What a relief!

Sufficiently grossed out? If you want a little more control over what gets left on your food, try growing your own. Here’s a list of easy vegetables and herbs you can start growing indoors.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Why We Must Stop Drinking Bottled Water

Food Advocacy Group to Sue FDA Over Controversial Approval of GMO Salmon

18 Most Addictive Foods

Indoor Veggie Garden Lets You Grow Your Own Food Right in Your Kitchen

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less