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Chocolatey Cockroaches

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10 October 2021   |   7:00 am
In 2017, it was shocking to read about a Melbourne man who had found a dead cockroach in his M&M chocolate bar. It makes you wonder about all questionable allergies associated with eating a chocolate bar. More often than not, it is assumed that the cocoa could be the main cause of the throwing up,…

Chocolatey Cockroaches

In 2017, it was shocking to read about a Melbourne man who had found a dead cockroach in his M&M chocolate bar. It makes you wonder about all questionable allergies associated with eating a chocolate bar.

More often than not, it is assumed that the cocoa could be the main cause of the throwing up, hives and so on, but what if you found out it was a bit more than cocoa?

It is quite a natural ingredient after all, but you might just be reacting to the cockroaches or bits and pieces of it, which are supposedly added features/ingredients to chocolates.

Although there are such things as edible insects, which many of us are aware of and most of us have taken part in the feasting on, because it is said that not only are they thought to be a good source of protein, they are also said to aid in weight loss.

However, when we think of edible insects and proteins and weight loss, we definitely do not factor in cockroaches, rodent poop, maggots, beetles, mealworms, and rodent hair, do we? But what if you were told that these are some things the FDA allows in moderation in food?

Chances are you can’t quite see or taste them but they are there in your everyday food like coffee beans, wheat, wheat flour, ground pepper, peanut butter, potato chips, food spices – all ground, sauces, fruits, fruit juices, and so on, and they are there for a purpose.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services and they have a Defect Level Handbook which details just how many insects, insect fragments, mould, parasites, rodent filth, rot, insect filth are allowed per gram and they are perfectly safe to consume.

The FDA knows it would be impossible to filter them all out and they present no health hazard whatsoever granted they remain below the “action levels” listed.

While this might be some upsetting revelation, we might want to take a closer look at the logical aspect of it all. The number of insects/insect fragments the FDA allows depends on the kind of food in question.

Generally, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, all have lower permissible limits than foods that are processed foods, like spices, flours, and sauces.

It is in order with the nature of production, which is that processed foods bring about more insect fragments, while whole foods, on the other hand, can contain more whole insects.

Ground cinnamon is allowed an average of 400 or more insect fragments per 50 gram while Cherry jam is allowed an average mould count of 30% or more.

While chocolate is allowed an “average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined or any 1 sub-sample contains 90 or more insect fragments in insect filth.

An average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram sub-samples examined or any 1 sub-sample contains 3 or more rodent hairs in rodent filth”. Meaning as a chocolate lover, you could be adding nearly 6,000 pieces of bugs to your diet yearly.

It is no secret that infestation occurs during all harvesting stages of crop production, these insects found in food production are common insects that infest crops during its growing, harvesting, and processing stages, which makes it economically unrealistic to have a product that is completely free of “naturally occurring defects”.

It makes you wonder why things like spices have expiry dates on them.

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