How many bugs do I eat every year?



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Some people – quite a lot of them, actually – eat bugs on purpose. The rest of us consume them by accident. And we’re not talking an ant or two here, a stray aphid there. No, it’s more like a pound or two (453 to 907 grams) a year [source: Eplett]. Here’s another fact that might be surprising: Most of those bugs are in processed and packaged foods, not fresh-from-the-farm produce.


The Food and Drug Administration has surprisingly specific guidelines about exactly how many bug parts can be in certain foods. Your 8-ounce (226-gram) glass of orange juice, for example, can legally contain five fruit flies. There could be 50 aphids, mites or thrips plus some caterpillar larvae in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of frozen spinach. Thrips, tiny winged parasites that are up to an eighth of an inch long, hang out in apple butter, and frozen asparagus, broccoli and Brussels sprouts [source: FDA]. And that’s just for starters.

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