Bugs in Food: Sorry Vegans, You've Already Eaten a Lot of Animals

Categories: Food News

Thumbnail image for Chef Pyles Crickets.jpg
Last month I used the recently released UN report on bug consumption to question whether or not Dallasites were ready to dine on insects. Comments came in quickly and resoundingly to the negative. "OK I can suck the head of a crawfish all day long, but I'd never stick the whole damn thing in my mouth and start munching. Eating bugs (even as taco filling) is too much for me to stomach," noted JaniceA.

See also:
Is Dallas Ready To Eat Bugs?

Sorry, Janice, but you've likely eaten a lot more insects that you think. An article on Salon points to the FDA's Defect Levels Handbook, which shows quite clearly we're all eating bugs. The notion seems pretty obvious to anyone who's bought farm fresh produce, and diligently washed it only to find a critter in their dinner salad. Kyle Hill spells it out succinctly: "Try as we might with insecticides and other engineered poisons, bugs crawl all over our food to feed (and procreate) on it."

The handbook spells out acceptable levels of "insect filth" for all sorts of food products. Aphids on spinach, maggots on cherries -- they're all a part of the circle of life that ends up on your dinner table. And those vegan brownies you love so much? The FDA allows up to 75 insect fragments per 50 grams of wheat flour that's used to make them.

As Hill points out, the thresholds are merely aesthetic limits and the bugs in your Cheerios are all perfectly safe -- unless you're the type of person who gets extremely squicked out at the idea of a few thorax fragments mixed in with your food. Man, you're going to be hungry.

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J_A_ topcommenter

Scott, I love you even more now! I'm so honored for the direct quote, no matter how stupid I sound. And now thanks to you, I know I've been eating bug jizz and poop all along anyhow.


I remember first learning of the bug 'allowances' many years ago in a book called "Big Secrets", and thereafter having much fun informing annoying co-workers of the minute additions to their lunch portions.  Many of them were sqeamish, but I'm pragmatic.  We know we can't get all those critter parts out, and they haven't killed us yet, even though we've probably eaten tons of 'em.  


Have you tried crickets with guacamole and some salsa.... uhhh delicious!!


People all over the globe eat bugs.  Only in a land of plenty can people choose to be vegan. 

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Bugs.  What about worms?  Nematodes in uncooked fish.  How do you know the fish is being frozen by a restaurant long enough to kill the worms?  Answer: You don't.


Part of being vegan is an awareness of what we're eating, so Sorry, Non-vegans, Most Vegans Were Already Aware Of This.


So let me get this straight, I should embrace eating bugs since I eat them already, unknowingly?

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