Want to hear a spooky story? There once was a lady who gave out Halloween candy that looked normal, but it was … filled with bugs and rat hairs! Aaaaaaaaaah!
OK, actually, it’s not all that scary because, in fact, that’s all of us. We eat bugs and rodent hairs. Yup, kids are likely taking in some legs, body parts and hair with every other bit of chocolate they scarf up after trick-or-treating. And we are too, whenever we ingest chocolate made in the U.S.
You see, it’s not illegal to sell you chocolate that has rodent hairs and insect parts inside, nicely enrobed in the chocolate.
But even the FDA has its limits.
The guidelines on this stuff say that a “direct reference seizure” is in order if the “the chocolate in six (6) 100 gram subsamples contains an average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.”
That chocolate liquor is also not good to go if “any one subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments, even if the overall average of all the subsamples is less than 60.” Also good to know.
Of course, that also means that the chocolate will not be pulled if there are say, 59 insect fragments in the subsample. That’s less than 60, after all. Bon Appétit!
A standard chocolate bar size is roughly 43 to 49 grams, so 100 grams is the size of about a little more than two full-size candy bars. Hmm, doing the math, that could be about 29 bug parts per bar.
Watch out for those extra-crunchy bars.
How about rat hairs? Did you want to know about those? Yeah, the FDA doesn’t want you eating an average of more than one rodent hair per 100 grams (per six 100-gram subsamples), “regardless of the size of the hairs or hair fragments,” according to the FDA’s CPG Sec. 515.700 Chocolate & Chocolate Liquor — Adulteration with Insect and Rodent Filth. (I suppose that means every other candy bar having a rat hair is OK, even if it is extra-long.)
More about bugs in food.
The FDA is also not keen on chocolate that has more than three rodent hairs in a subsample, even if the average for the six samples is less than one. So, it looks like you’ll have to try another way to get your hair of the rodent for Halloween. That’s good news.
But bug parts? We have plenty. What kind of bug? Wouldn’t you like to know?
Bwah ha ha. I’m guessing it’s not all ladybugs.
I once found an insect leg in the breading of a pork cutlet in college. What bizarre remnants have you found in your food? Do share in the comments section!