Skip to comments.Pasta Bugs: Why Are There Insects In American Food?
Posted on 07/24/2014 7:16:39 PM PDT by jespasinthru
Has this ever happened to you? You go to a clean, modern American supermarket and buy some boxes of pasta. You store some of them in you cupboard. And when you cook it, little black bugs are floating in the water. They look like fleas, except that they have snouts. Very gross. And by putting boxes of them in your cupboard, you have now infested your kitchen with them. I was so mad that I e-mailed the company, a popular national brand, and gave them a piece of my mind. I even e-mailed them a close-up photo of the bug in question. I received an apologetic letter from the company. They informed me that these things are called grain weevils, and they are very prevalent in the commercial farms of Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho and Iowa. The company is reluctant to overuse pesticides, and they reject GMO crops because of public outcry. So some of these bugs make it into the processing plants and past quality control, and consumers find them in their boxes of pasta. I've been married for five months, and when I discussed it with my husband he was very pragmatic about it: "Just rinse the pasta before you cook it. If any bugs get past the rinsing, just cook 'em. The heat will kill any bacteria, and bugs do have a bit of protein in them. It's a sin to throw away good food." He's into lateral thinking, which is one of the reasons why I love him. A week later I got a fat envelope in the mail. The pasta company sent me coupons for twenty free boxes of the same buggy crap. Like I'd ever put their product in my kitchen again. I went to a huge Lutheran church in my town that gives out lots of free food to the poor and homeless, and explained the situation to them. To my surprise, the pastor and his administrators were familiar with the pasta bug problem. They were happy to accept those 20 free coupons that I got in the mail. Has this ever happened to you?
Paragraphs are your friend.
Check out the accepted number of insect fragments that are allowed by the FDA in canned food. Canned tomatoes for instance.
It is rare but it happens.
Toss the pasta and cook something else.
Similar things have happened here; although not a scientist or a student of food, processing, or packaging, I have the sneaking suspicion that, on the microscopic level, at least, there’s a lot of cr*p in our food we never see.
Cook it well.
And, yes, it’s a significant problem in these days of planned long-term storage in anticipation of future need.
yup, had a gal friend once whose summer job it was to do lab things like count insect legs and body fragments in mmmm-mmmm-good soup.
Yes it happened to me twice in 40 years. Threw it out checked rest of cupboard then purchased a fresh box from different store. I always look before I cook and rotate by home stored products.
More seriously, I have never seen these bugs before. You should have used the coupons.
Paragraphs take up too much space, especially when you are thinking and typing at the same time.
This is minor. If you think our food is pristine as sold, think again. Just look at FDA guidelines for foodstuffs and what adulterants are allowed. There is now way to have a completely bug-free, hair-free and pest-free food chain. Short of growing it yourself, the stuff will always be there. My mother was the best cook ever, but I always somehow managed to find a hair in my food—it was her hair. Still alive.......
Keep all flour and pastas in the freezer for 30 days at 0 degrees to kill the bug eggs.
You mean the bugs or throwing away coupons for free food?
No and no.
WHAT a nice way to put it. :o)
Freeze the item for a couple weeks before storing.
Yes, happened to me with a box of spaghetti while living overseas and shopping at a military base commissary.
Up`n here we`uns go berryin` about this time of yaer up on ye mountain, `n we jest pick them berries, them blackcaps n black rasberries, yummy, bugs n all n eatem bugs`n all, to make sure them berries `n bugs is ripe,whilst we is pickin`.
You`ll city slickers is scared of bugs in pastas?
Heck you ain`t lived until you`ve mouth `n swallowed a crunchy raw leafhopper.
Because if you don't you get the main parasite outbreak in your belly!
The euphemism used by the FDA for that is “insect parts per million”. Don’t google for photos unless you’re planning on going on a diet.
It is nearly impossible to produce foodstuffs that have no insect contaminates in them.
It is very hard, but you must learn to live with this icky fact.
I do not put flour or boxes of pasta in the cupboard without sealing them in plastic bags or boxes first.
I have never purchased grain items that already had weevils in them. But if they sit around the kitchen for a while, especially if the package is opened, they will attract weevils. This is more of a problem in some parts of the country. In Maryland, I can get away with opening a package and using it within a week or so before the weevils find it; in California, the weevils showed up almost as soon as I put the package in the cupboard.
I suggest investing in some Rubbermaid containers and making a habit of sealing all grain items as soon as you take them home from the store. Ziploc bags also work. The plastic shopping bags will NOT work.
Thanks, I’ll try that!
According to ABC News, the average chocolate bar contains eight insect pieces! (Ewwww!) And it gets worse: They say that people who are allergic to chocolate generally arent reacting to the cocoa, theyre reacting to then ground-up cockroach and other insects that have invaded their chocolate. (Double, triple, and quadruple Ewww!)
You are a spoiled American. There are bugs in everything, in your canned good, in your frozen goods, in your processed foods but they’re usually really ground up and you don’t see them. Consumers complain if there are bugs and then complain if their food is sprayed.
You can get another brand of pasta but it is just as likely to have weevils as any other. Send me the coupons, I’ll use them.
Clean your cabinets, spray some bug spray, clean them again. I freeze most things for 72 hours, I don’t know if that really helps but I don’t have weevils. Bay leaves help too, just put them in your cupboard.
Mankind would die without insects.
Just skim the bugs off they’ll come to the top when it boils.
I have found many little black bugs in pasta over the years. Not a problem, throw some oregano in the tomato sauce, you’ll never notice them, and you wont care, especially if you got the sauce done right. Everything tastes great in in tomato sauce.
All my flours, pasta, rice and any packaged dry ‘mixes’ get a trip through my 0F chest freezer for about a month.
And people wonder why I do my own canning....
I KNOW what's in it.
Blame the Greenies who attack pesticides on one side, and GMO grains on the the other side. You end up with more bugs in the food.
Meanwhile, here are some recipes to try out on your husband:
Although I’d take a pass on the scorpions.
Since it involves food storage there is only ONE MAN on this site that can answer your question...
“I have never purchased grain items that already had weevils in them.”
I did once. I opened some corn meal and there were weevils so I went to the store and bought a new bag got home, opened it and it had just as many. I just picked them out and used it anyway.
Your husband is right, it’s no big deal.
Oh yeah, grains are grown outdoors where there are insects and then they are stored for months and months in silos. They wash the grains before processing them but the insects have bored into many of them and lain eggs and those don’t get washed out.
Then you’ll be really upset by a food grade dye commonly known as carmine red. It’s produced from the ground up shells of a Beetle. they’re farmed specifically for this purpose. It’s also used in makeup and pharmceuticals.
re: Has this ever happened to you?
Unfortunately, yes. And I have no advice to give. It seems to be a fact of life.
We always ate mulberries, never washed them, right out of the tree and one day I held one in my hand and watched the little worms crawl out. I did wash them after that.
I bought some brown rice at the local health food store a couple months ago. As soon as I got it home the plastic bat went it to a sealed zip lock bag. A few weeks later the inside of the zip lock bag was crawling with grain moths. I have traps around the kitchen and they did not show any infestation.
never seen pasta bugs in any pasta i buy. i will look for them now, though.
My grandfather used to say; “You eat a pound of dirt before you die”.
Don’t recall him mentioning the bug limit.
your mom just liked to put a little bit of her in everything she made. :-)
I prefer the sealed plastic wrapped pasta to the boxes for just that reason.
Did you grow up in a plastic bubble?
Everything has some bugs in it. Do you know that yogurt is actually a living bacteria?
Things are grown in the ground, do you expect there wouldn't be bugs of some type involved?
You do wash all your veggies and fruits before eating them, right? It's not just because of dust.
If you try to live a totally clean life, you could develop allergies. A little dirt is good for your immune system.
What does the FDA considered "defective"?
The first thing on the list is ground allspice that should not contain 30 or more bug parts per 10 grams or no more than 1 rodent hair in 10 grams.
Frozen Broccoli - Average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams
ever wonder how easy it is for a can of Sweet Corn to pass muster with the FDA? - Insect larvae (corn ear worms, corn borers) 2 or more 3mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments of corn ear worms or corn borer and the aggregate length of such larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds (24 No. 303 cans or equivalent)
Wheat Flour - Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams or 1 rodent hair in 50 grams.