According to U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulations, ground Paprika is allowed up to 20% mold, 75 insect fragments and 11 rodent hairs per 25 grams, and that Tomato Puree may contain 9 fly eggs and 1 maggot per 100 grams.
For more on what may be in your food, see:
Defect Levels Handbook: The Food Defect Action Levels
WARNING: This page is not for the squeamish!
Insects are a useful source of protein in some parts of the world. Dried locusts are 75% protein and 20% fat, and contain several vitamins. Termites are 36% protein and 44% fat.
Irradiation was used for the first time in 1963 to sterilize dried fruits and vegetables, in order to stop sprouting and to control insect infestation.
Locusts can do extreme damage to crops when they swarm in great numbers. One swarm seen over the Red Sea in 1889 was estimated to be 2,000 square miles in size. There are several edible species, and they are important food sources in some areas, especially Africa. They can be grilled, roasted or boiled, and also ground to a paste.
Worms, beetles, and bugs are not as American as Mom's apple pie, and very probably never will be. But there was an occasion in 1992, at the Explorers Club in New York City, when the New York Entomological Society celebrated its 100th anniversary with a banquet that began with snacks of roasted crickets and larvae and went on through mealworm ghanouj, waxworm fritters with plum sauce, cricket and vegetable tempura, and roasted Australian kurrajong grubs to roast beef and gravy. The dessert was chocolate cricket torte, the centerpieces on the table were live tarantulas (for decor, not for eating).
The record for eating live cockroaches is held by Ken Edwards of Derbyshire, England. In 2001 he ate 36 hissing Madagascar roaches in one minute.
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