23 September 2005

Special of the day: Whitefish with occasional parasitic cysts

Did you know that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows for the presence of certain levels of insect parts and "rodent filth" in our food? It would be practically impossible to avoid contamination of very large quantities of commercially produced food, especially grains and other plants, by insects and rodents. And since such contaminations do not normally pose any health hazard, FDA allows for their presence up to the maximum levels that have been established for different food items. These maximum levels are known as "Food Defect Action Levels".

Here are some examples of Defect Action Levels of filth in food.

Frozen broccoli: Average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams.
Chocolate: Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams.
Curry powder: Average of 4 or more rodent hairs per 25 grams.
Whitefish: 50 parasitic cysts per 100 pounds (whole or fillets), provided that 20% of the fish examined are infested.
Red Fish and Ocean Perch: 3 % of the fillets examined contain 1 or more copepods accompanied by pus pockets.
Ginger, whole: Average of 3 mg or more of mammalian excreta per pound.
Peanut butter: Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.
Tomatoes, canned: 5 or more Drosophila eggs and 1 or more maggots per 500 grams.
Wheat flour: Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams.

Bon appétit!


Appreciations to Tim Pearce whose e-mail responses to one of my previous posts on eating cockroaches inspired this one.

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