Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

8 Grossest Things the FDA Allows in Your Food

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less