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Bugs in Vegetables

Just curious, what and if you've ever found a bug(s) in store or market bought vegetables or other items?

A couple of weeks ago I found a ladybug in some parsley I had purchased from a Fairway grocery store. It was already dead, but as I was pulling more of the parsley apart, a small healthy looking caterpillar dropped out. It was the exact same light green color as the stems and the idea that I could have chopped it up and eaten it haunts me.

And last summer I bought corn from a farmer's market, when I got home and started to pull the husks off, I found a dark brown worm trapped in the silk in one of them. Thinking I could have squished it in my hand still haunts me also, lol.

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  1. I steamed an artichoke once and found a (dead, obviously) worm lurking between two of the inner leaves. Now I am more diligent about separating the leaves and rinsing the artichoke thoroughly before cooking.

    2 Replies
    1. re: small h

      I did too once or twice. Still, I never rinse my artichokes. A bug ain't gonna kill me.

      1. re: ttoommyy

        There are lots of things that won't kill me that I still prefer not to eat. In any case, I continue to enjoy artichokes. And corn on the cob, another bug sanctuary.

    2. An occasional larva is no big deal, as far as I'm concerned. Just think of the poisons that would be needed if you insisted your produce be bug-free.

      4 Replies
        1. <what and if you've ever found a bug(s) in store or market bought vegetables or other items?>

          Yes, a few times here and there, but probably no more than you have.

          <the idea that I could have chopped it up and eaten it haunts me.>

          And you are assuming that you have not eaten one before? :) You know what you know. Obviously, if you find an insect, you won't eat it, but you know you couldn't possible catch these incidents all the time, which means you probably have eaten a few bugs before, which means you lived and survived, which begs the question of why worry something you have done before.

          15 Replies
          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

            I'm pretty sure I've eaten my fair share of insects and their spawn considering the FDA allows a certain percentage of bug parts to remain floating around in dry goods and nut butters and whatever else. <bleah>

            I've just never found more than one, let alone two different types of insects, in the same bunch of store bought herbs, and never ladybugs. :)

            Hence, when I ask, it's not that I really care, it's out of curiosity which is why I prefaced my inquiry with being just curious. One of my friends told me she once tried to buy cabbage at a farmer's market but the guy selling them wouldn't charge her even though she insisted on paying. When she got home and started pulling the leaves apart to wash, there were more caterpillars than leaves, lol. She kept plucking them off until she finally gave up and threw the entire head out, lol.

            i want deets on what others found, wingspan, color, size, etc. so that I know that my friend and i are not alone in this world, haha.

            1. re: mushroomaffairs

              <considering the FDA allows a certain percentage of bug parts>

              I didn't know this. Thanks.

              <I've just never found more than one, let alone two different types of insects, in the same bunch of store bought herbs, and never ladybugs. :)>

              Maybe they don't get along and fought out insect battles. :) I have seen ladybug once.

              <there were more caterpillars than leaves>

              Ok, this is way too excessive.

              <i want deets on what others found, wingspan, color, size, etc>

              I see. One of my earliest bugs I found was a ladybug. It was either the first or second bug I have found, but I have never found another ladybug since then. Most of the time I found little flies or ant-like creature (but not really ants) -- black or dark brown insects smaller than sesame seed. I may have seen caterpillar/worm once. I particularly not like the worm-like creatures.

              By the way, I have found worms inside fruits. Again, I find worms repulsive, but the fact that they were "inside" the fruits is much worse than if they were crawling outside. I threw the fruits away.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                <considering the FDA allows a certain percentage of bug parts>

                I didn't know this. Thanks.

                _____________________

                Had an old girlfriend who traded agricultural commodities. She used to refer to the allowable amount of "foreign particulate matter" that's allowed in a variety of food products like flour, pasta, chocolate, etc.

                I think the OP would get quite the hebejebes if he/she ever were to see the bugs that come along with the harvesting/storing of most produce/fruit/grains.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  I read years ago about exactly how many fly legs and wings were allowed in ground beef.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    Interesting, but how would one even count that? I assume you take a sample of ground beef, and then what? I am confused. Let's say if the flies were with the beef prior to the grinding process, then the flies' legs and wings are all ground up too. How would flies legs and wings get to ground beef AFTER the grinding process. Does the ground beef just sit around and the fruit flies come by? If so, I have more concern the fact that the ground beef just sit around for extended period of time.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        FDA standards for defects (including insect parts and rodent hairs) in commodities define limits by count of pieces in a specified weight, or by weight in some cases:

                        http://www.fda.gov/food/guidancecompl...

                        Beef is regulated by the FSIS, not the FDA. The FSIS is mainly concerned with pathogens, not insects, as far as I can determine.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          You know, CK, I tried to come up with a flip answer to the question: "Does the ground beef just sit around and the fruit flies come by?" I couldn't, but your phrase will live with me for a while. LOL, thanks!

                        2. re: sandylc

                          Can you provide a link to a government regulation on this subject?

                          1. re: GH1618

                            Nope. Just read about it many years ago, as stated.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Food...

                              yes, it's wiki, but there's loads of links.

                              google "allowable percentage of insect parts in foodstuffs" for more links than I have time or interest in clicking.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                That's not merely not an authoritative link, it doesn't mention ground beef. Sandylc was referring to ground beef, and ChemKinetics was questioning the implications for ground beef. I have an authoritative link for insect parts in those things regulated by the FDA, because I posted it myself. I don't have one for ground beef.

                                Thanks for trying, however.

                              2. re: GH1618

                                your local public health inspector can probably give you the details

                                1. re: GH1618

                                  I'd love to, but I read about it a VERY long time ago....

                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    But here's a great publication describing how many insect parts are allowed in other products:

                                    http://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregul...

                          2. Based on the kosher rules regarding leafy greens (spinach, cabbage, other greens) - I think it's probably safe to say that we've all eaten loads of insects in our veggies. Unless we're primarily only eating hydroponically grown produce.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: cresyd

                              Funny, my first thought on reading the OP's post was, "That's why kashrut specifies checking all your leafy greens, etc. very thoroughly." Some practical application after all, it seems.

                              1. re: rockycat

                                Well, I think it depends on whether or not you feel removing such insects is practical or not.

                                Nevertheless, I do have to admit that buying the hydroponic mushrooms really cuts down on the amount of cleaning they need.

                                1. re: cresyd

                                  Maybe Terminex needs to be called?

                                  Hunt

                            2. I have found insects a few times, usually in leafy greens and a couple of times in celery, and that's to be expected, I think...along with the usual grit, dirt, etc. But it all comes out in the wash.