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Swallowing Flies

Kathy Werner
Posted 7/23/21

There was an old lady who—almost—swallowed a fly. And that old lady was me!

I made myself a nice cup of tea (is there any other kind?) and had finished half of it when my two doggies, …

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Swallowing Flies

Posted

There was an old lady who—almost—swallowed a fly. And that old lady was me!

I made myself a nice cup of tea (is there any other kind?) and had finished half of it when my two doggies, George and Gracie (who, by the way, are celebrating their 13th birthdays this month) indicated that they would like to go out for a walk.

We tooled around the block at our usual moderately slow pace, stopping intermittently for smelling, investigation of stop signs, and rest stops. Soon we were back home, and I went to take a sip of my tea. Thank goodness it was only a sip because I felt something brush against my lips.

I peered into the cup to see something floating in it. Something with wings. Something that had tried and failed to swim in said cup. Yes, my friends, it was the common house fly doing the Dead Man’s Float—or should I say Dead Fly’s Float—in my slightly cooled cup of tea.

This discovery was followed by a flurry of activity. After spitting out the mouthful I had sipped, I quickly poured the remainder of the tea down the drain and gave the fly a burial at sea, if you please.

I know we’re all supposedly going to eat a peck of dirt before we die, and I will plead guilty to making my sister eat mud pies as a child, but I had never heard anything about eating insects.

But wait, dear friends, for this gross bit of news. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has guidelines for exactly how many insects are allowable in our food before it is considered unsafe/inedible.

Here’s a sampling, according to the FDA’s Food Defect Levels Handbook [www.fda.gov/food/ingredients-additives-gras-packaging-guidance-documents-regulatory-information/food-defect-levels-handbook#CHPTA], of allowable insects in our food.

Tomato paste, pizza and other tomato-based sauces can have under an average of 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams OR 15 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 100 grams OR 2 or more maggots per 100 grams in a minimum of 12 subsamples and still be considered edible. Wheat flour is not considered bad until it has 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams. (Don’t you wonder who has the delightful task of counting those?)

So here’s something to think about. That fly I almost swallowed and that gnat that flew into my mouth last summer? They were hardly the first insects I have consumed. We’re eating insect parts unknowingly all the time. Even chocolate, my food of choice, can contain up to 60 insect fragments per 100-gram samples before the FDA gets involved.

The good news? Insect protein is fat free and people all over the world eat insects for protein. The bad news? Now you know that there are probably insect bits in your chocolate bar. Not to worry—at least they provide some actual nourishment.

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Don

Well if you had ever listened to George Carlin you would've known for a very long time about 'Bug Parts... The FDA and the allowable amount allowed in food.

Thursday, July 29