The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is hard at work monitoring our food supply so that we don't accidentally get a can of soup with a fly in it—which puts a new spin on the phrase, "Waiter, there is a fly in my soup." For this service, we are grateful. But the job they do is extremely difficult and the standards they have set in place may surprise you. It might seem as though the FDA doesn't care as much about keeping nasty things out of our foods as we do. Let's take a look at a few things the FDA might allow in your food and why they allow it.
Do you know that there could be insect parts in your peanut butter? The FDA allows for an average of less than 30 insect fragments per 100 grams. We hope that doesn't ruin your next midnight PB&J.
Do you enjoy citrus fruit juices from the can? There could be Drosophila and other fly eggs or maggots from flies in your fruit juice. Less than 5 eggs per 250 ml may be acceptable and 1 maggot per 250 ml might pass inspection depending on the number of samples tested.
Sand and grit
If you like raisins, you might want to know that an average of 40 mg or less sand is allowed in a 100-gram sample of golden bleached raisins. Those raisins could have insect parts and insect eggs as well. The FDA allows for less than 10 whole insects (or the equivalent) in an 8 oz sample.
If you buy a bag of wheat, there could be rodent droppings in it. If there are pellet fragments weighing 9 milligrams or less in a kilogram of wheat, this would pass inspection. But, there is a very low tolerance for any complete rodent droppings in a package of food.
Do you enjoy popcorn and a movie? It may be okay if a rodent hair is found in a sample of popcorn, but only one sample. If two samples have a rodent hair, this would not pass inspection.
Do you like to put pepper on your foods? As long as there are less than an average of 2 rodent hairs per 50 grams, a sample of black pepper will be considered passable.
Why are these things in our food?
From the farm to the table, there are many ways insects and rodents can come in contact with food. These food pests are persistent and it can be difficult to keep them out. Each step of the way, there are food-safety processes in place to protect your food from being contaminated. A food-processing plant, for example, employs quality assurance employees to check packaged foods to make sure they comply with governmental food-safety standards. They do this to protect their reputations but also to prevent foodborne illnesses that could impact their customers, such as Salmonella and E. Coli. They may also use equipment to scan products for metal, plastic, stone, glass, sand and other materials that could get into the food. It is a rigorous process.
At Arrow Pest Control, we support businesses that grow, process, store, transport, sell and prepare food products. We provide industry-leading pest control services to handle a wide range of pest pressures. Whether it is applying treatments around the exterior of a structure, installing pest monitoring devices inside and outside, utilizing bioremediation to address breeding sites, analyzing data and creating comprehensive documentation, establishing sanitation programs, and more, our service team members have the experience, certifications and professionalism to get the job done right. If all goes well, there won't be any of the above materials in the foods our commercial customers handle. That is our goal. Because, like you, we get our food at the grocery store and we like to go out to eat. We don't want these contaminants in our food any more than you do.
If you own a commercial facility, reach out to us. We would love the opportunity to discuss with you how you can protect your business and the food supply we all share. At the end of the day, we're all in this together.
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