Most of us have accidentally swallowed a bug at some point or watched some reality show where contestants were forced to eat insects and wondered how many of those little critters we consume. We’re not talking about chowing down on crickets served to you, but the insects we eat without realizing it.
Yeah, it’s kind of a revolting thought, but the FDA actually “allows for a small amount of insect material that is guaranteed safe for human consumption to pass into our food.” And when you add up all those insects, it’s no small number of bugs either.
According to insect control company Terro, it’s possible for someone to ingest close to 140,000 pieces of insects each year. But don’t worry, they claim it’s completely normal and safe! Yeah…we’ll let you swallow the throw-up in your mouth right now.
The amount of insect material allowed depends on each specific food, but in general, processed foods have more bug fragments and foods we eat whole have more whole insects. Yum, right? These are some allowable numbers of insects in half a cup of common foods we eat all the time. Brace yourself:
- Berries, frozen or canned - 2 whole insects
- Frozen broccoli - 60 whole insects
- Ground cinnamon - 800 insect fragments
- Macaroni and noodle products - 100 insect fragments
- Peanut butter - 30 insect fragments
- Ground pepper - 950 insect fragments
Source: NBC 4i