From Rodent Hair To Poop, The FDA Legally Allows Factories To Have A Small Amount Of These In Your Food
If this is the first you’re hearing of this, you might want to just plan on skipping your next meal. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a legal minimum for the amount of “food defects” a consumer can reasonably come to expect from their food purchases. Growing up Latino, the bulk of your food probably came from Costco, where every apple is encased in plastic and the food feels pretty sterile. Never have we found a bug in anything from the holy grail of Costco.
No matter where you do your grocery shopping, often, you can’t even see the rodent hairs or disembodied insects in your food. But the FDA knows it’s there, and the agency is trying to keep your cafecito at a minimum of just 10 mg of animal poop per pound.
Along with a small dose of mierda, you’re also looking at 4% to 6% of your coffee beans being moldy or insect-infested.
Talk about a witches’ brew. Your cafecito brew in the morning is basically the same potion our ancestors made for their enemies. Café Mierda, que rico. It makes sense though. Coffee is grown in the humid, tropical countries of much of our people. That mold creates mycotoxins which are toxic chemicals, the most common of which in coffee is a powerful carcinogen. The second most common mycotoxin found in coffee is Ochratochin A, which can deplete dopamine and cause cell death in your brain. Some say that we’re exposed to small amounts of toxins no matter what we do, but others suggest listening to your body. We all react differently to different stimuli.
Worse still is that there might be up to an eyedropper full of blood and pus in that leche.
Cows that are used for dairy are kept forcibly impregnated their whole lives so that they can produce milk. Once they begin the very natural process of lactation, their calves are sent away, and they’re hooked up to metal milking machines. The irritation from those machines causes mastitis, which is an infection of the udder. That means that those machines are milking infectious pus along with the milk. According to the USDA, 16.5% of cows used for their milk are suffering from mastitis.
This is so common that the FDA legally allows up to 750 million pus cells in every liter of milk. That’s about an eyedropper full of pus. Cafe sin leche, por favor.
Insects might not perk up your spices, but they’re there anyway.
Paprika is allowed to be comprised of up to 20% mold. Let’s face it. Latinos are more comfortable with mold than your average Becky. We just slice that moldy part off the bread and make toast like it’s a no-brainer. For some reason, when we learn the government is allowing us to eat mold without our consent, it feels gross. If you’re not grossed out yet, you should know your typical spice jar of paprika is likely to have 225 tiny limbs or heads of dismembered insects, and over 30 rodent hairs.
This all makes sense if you try to reconnect to our food system.
Access to food on a daily basis looks like walking down illuminated, refrigerated grocery aisles, and choosing between plastic wrapped chicken breast, or plastic-wrapped Beyond burgers. Root vegetables like carrots are being misted every twenty minutes and look so clean and fresh. When we remember where, or who, all these products come from, it’s easier to imagine why insects may have hopped a ride from the farm to to your plate. Produce is of the earth, and harvest season may be the buggiest season of the year, depending on the crop.
That said, food safety specialist Ben Chapmen told CNN that he looks at insects in your food “as a yuck factor versus a risk factor. Insect parts are gross, but they don’t lead to foodborne illnesses.” More dangerous for human health is when plastic, stone or metal ends up in a food harvest, which is why processed food goes under x-rays and metal detectors.
You can control the amount of feces and rodent hair in your food when you buy as fresh food as possible.
Instead of using a can of corn, buy fresh corn on the cob. You might just see the insects crawling out of the cob as you start to peel the corn, and rinse away all the mierda you can. Technically, the FDA is more concerned with regulating the amount of insect larvae in your cans of sweet corn. That said, 5% of corn husks used for tamales are expected to be moldy and insect-infested. Careful with your fresh tortillas though, because the FDA allows an average of one whole insect per quarter cup of cornmeal. Is it racism? We can’t say.