Stark Exterminators Blog

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Friday, November 8, 2019

There Are Bugs In My What? Everyday Items Made With Insects

It’s not fun to think about, but bugs are everywhere. You may think they’re just confined to backyards and other outdoorsy areas or even find the occasional creepy-crawler in your home, but they’re more present than that. Take mac and cheese, for example. It’s a classic comfort food — but every box is home to hundreds of insect fragments. Got a favorite red lipstick? There are most likely bugs in that, too. We hate to ruin pizza for you, but a classic slice can have several bug parts in the sauce alone. 

While it might make you cringe, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has deemed these products totally safe due to the fact that some ingredients are grown, harvested or processed where there are just too many bugs to control. If you’ve got a strong stomach or are just curious to find out exactly how much bugs are allowed in your everyday items, read on. 

Tomato Sauce 

If you like a saucy spaghetti or a slice of pizza, here’s some bad news for you: the FDA allows an average of 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams of your favorite tomato sauce. And it’s not just tomato sauce — canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup and tomato juice can be made with fly and maggot parts and still be considered safe. Sounds delicious, right? 

Peanut Butter 

What’s better than a classic PB&J? Maybe a PB&J without insect fragments. Unfortunately, a 16-ounce jar of peanut butter can have up to 136 insect parts — we’re talking heads, wings, legs and bodies — before it’s deemed contaminated. 

Red Lipstick

Unlike some food items, red lipstick is one of the products where bugs are used on purpose. Dead cochineal bugs are crushed, releasing a vibrant red hue to be mixed into lipsticks, blushes and even some food items like strawberry yogurt. You’ll know these critters are in your products if you see cochineal extract, crimson lake, carmine lake or natural red 4 on the ingredient list. 

Glazed Candies

Anyone with a sweet tooth should be on the lookout for confectioner’s glaze. Made from the excreted resin of the lac bug, it’s used on candies like Junior Mints, malt balls, candy corn and jelly beans to give them that classic shiny finish — and it turns out candy isn’t its only use. You can also find this shellac as a wood finish, primer and as the coating on most pharmaceutical pills. 

Pasta

This may come as bad news for pasta lovers, but the FDA allows an average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams of pasta (one bug bit per gram!) — but pasta itself isn’t the culprit. It’s the wheat. In the process of turning wheat kernels into wheat flour for pasta (or bread or pizza), the FDA allows 32 or more insect-damaged kernels per 100 grams and an average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams. 

Seasonings and Spices

No meal is complete without a sprinkle of seasoning and spices — and a dash of insect wings? Ground cinnamon can have an average of 400 or more insect fragments per 50 grams, ground oregano can have an average of 1250 or more insect fragments per 10 grams and ground pepper can have an average of 475 or more insect fragments per 50 grams. Bon appetit! 

Give Us a Call 
We can’t control how many bugs are in your household items, but we can help you control any bugs that might be in or around your home. If you’ve got pests, give Stark a call today!