Pay for Soup, Enjoy Insects, Mold Free

FDA's classification of food 'defects' a slippery slope
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2009 1:33 PM CST
It's not just canned goods that can have fly legs in it: Spices have their own allowable levels of foreign matter.   (©stu_spivack)
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(Newser) – If you're eating, stop reading now: The FDA's rules on foreign matter in food products are a veritable entomology lesson. Maggots, fly eggs, rodent droppings, grit, mold, burlap, cigarette butts, and parasites are all OK with the agency in limited quantities, writes EJ Levy in the New York Times, adding, "These harmless hazards are a reminder of the less harmless risks we run with casual regulation of our food supply."

It's "impractical to grow, harvest or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects," the agency says. But "you’re probably ingesting one to two pounds of flies, maggots and mites each year without knowing it," writes Levy, "a quantity of insects that clearly does not cut the mustard, even as insects may well be in the mustard."