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It makes a delicious cookie, goes great in a smoothie, and pairs perfectly with grape jelly. But how well do you really know that stuff in the jar? Is it possible that exterminators might have an interest in the contents of peanut butter beyond the existential question — creamy or crunchy?
It’s true. There are bugs in your peanut butter, but the FDA clearly states that you’re only eating their parts. The government’s official Defect Levels Handbook notes an allowed ratio of 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of yummy spreadable. That amounts to approximately 238 fragments in an average (28-ounce) jar of peanut butter. Unfortunately, it happens every day, so there’s no need to call your local pest control specialist. The FDA is surprisingly frank about why this happens; it’s physically impossible to harvest and produce food products without naturally occurring defects.
Insects have been on the human menu for as long as mankind has been in the mood for a munch, and they’re a great source of protein. Keep that in mind the next time you put black pepper on your asparagus. The spice weighs in with 475 insect body parts per 50 grams sprinkled over a veggie boasting a 40/100 ratio. Even chocolate comes with bug baggage numbers averaging 60 fragments per 100 grams.
The FDA enforces strict guidelines to make sure our country’s food supply stays safe, but microscopic insect bits don’t pose any health hazards, and they can’t exceed allowed limits. The FDA’s defect levels don’t represent an overall average either. Instead, they form the basis for determining if a food product is considered adulterated and subject to government action. The number of bug body parts in peanut butter could be reduced with an increase in pesticide use, but that trade-off opens up an entirely different can of worms.
Here at Western Exterminator, we trust the FDA to make the right call on food products and bug fragments, so we’re still baking peanut butter cookies and packing PB&J sandwiches for picnics. If you ever have reason to be concerned about any kind of insects in your home’s pantries, just give us a call. We’re proud to always be your responsible choice for pest control, and we’ll even save you some cookies.