There Are Probably a Lot More Bugs in Your Food Than You Realize

Jun 22, 2017 at 7:09 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images

Eating bugs is a pretty common practice in cuisines around the world. But when you don't know there are bugs in your food, I think we can all agree it's kind of gross. Yet, according to the FDA's rules, humans can consume up to 140,000 pieces of insect matter each year. Um, what?

Apparently, it's par for the course that some insect parts are going to find their way into our food supply — and it's not unsafe, exactly, for us to unknowingly eat bugs. But can we all agree that it's honestly kind of disgusting?

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Like, when people eat crickets, ant eggs or other insects on purpose, the bugs are processed and cooked in a specific way. When we eat bugs that get in our food accidentally, it makes me wonder about the cleanliness of the production facility — if bugs can get in, what else is in there?

You're probably wondering how many insects, exactly, we're allowed to ingest. The numbers are shockingly high, according to a recent report by insect control company TERRO.

Edible Insects: How many insects are allowed in your food? The answer is shocking.
Image: Terro

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I'm hoping and praying that some of these are microscopic insects, because otherwise how could one possibly ingest 60 insects with every half-cup of broccoli? The FDA also allows there to be 25,000 insects in each half-cup of hops. Like... how do that many insects fit in a half-cup of anything? Well, it turns out the bugs in question are aphids, which clock in at just 2 to 5 millimeters in size. TBH, still kind of repulsive.

Luckily, a lot of the bugs are actually kind of nutritious. Think of them as nature's protein powder, helping you to be healthier without even realizing it.

Edible Insects: It turns out that eating insects is actually kind of good for you.
Image: Terro

Then again, we could all just use actual protein powder, but when life hands you lemons... you eat bugs, apparently.

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