FDA inspections allow certain amount of filth in your food

8:58 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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By Ken Amaro-WJXX First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (WJXX) - The food you buy is expected to be unadulterated. Nancy Harrison said when she opened her can of beans, that was not her experience.

"I just jumped, I was totally startled," said Harrison, "My heart went boom, boom. I had never experienced anything like that."

Harrison said she found something that took the taste out of her mouth.

"I take my spoon and I took a couple of nibbles and I thought I saw a white speck that didn't look just right," she said.

What she showed us looked like shredded cabbage and not kidney beans.

Harrison has turned it over to the Food and Drug Administration to investigate what was in her can of beans. Stewart Watson is with the FDA.

"Any food that comes to the market, the manufacturer is responsible for making sure it is wholesome and safe," said Watson.

Even so, you be may surprised the FDA still allows a certain amount of filth in your food.

"We're not talking about storage insects like roaches, which could be the result of poor sanitation," said Watson. "We're talking about things that you wouldn't even notice in your products."

Things like rodent hair and insect parts.

The FDA has a complete list of foods in its Defect Action Guide that list the amount of filth and insect parts that are allowed in your food. It is 24 pages of things that may surprise you.

"The levels we're talking about again are natural," said Watson, "They're unavoidable."

And this is not limited to name brands or off-brands. For example:

-In macaroni and noodle products, expect to find four and a half rodent hairs or 225 insect fragments.

-In cornmeal, the FDA allows a percentage or insects, insect filth and rodent filth and calls the significance of that aesthetic.

Harrison was surprised to learn it happens.

"I would never, never guess so," she said.

-In peanut butter expect rodent filth, one or more hairs, and insect filth, 30 or more fragments and grit.

-In frozen broccoli, the FDA allows an average of 60 or more aphids or mites for every 100 grams. The FDA calls the significance of it aesthetic.

"Oh no. That's one of my favorite foods," said Harrison.

-In golden raisins, expect insects and insect eggs, ten or more whole sects

-In cans of sweet corn, the FDA allows insect larvae.

Harrison said her kidney beans experience and now learning about the list of the amount of filth the FDA allows in food are giving her a new perspective.

"I don't know what to think," said Harrison, "What can I say? It is disgusting."

The list of items goes on and on, and remember we are talking about products that we choose everyday in the grocery store -- products with more than what's written on the label and it is allowed.

"It is not the greatest or the most comforting topic in the world, but it is a reality," said Watson.

The FDA wants to be sure that the food we consume is wholesome and safe, and even with its defects level guide will investigate anything that is beyond the levels and pose a possible health risk.

The advice is to wash everything before you cook and store your foods properly.

If there's question or a concern about a specific item, you can call the FDA at: (866) 337-6272 or visit its website at www.FDA.gov.

Check out the FDA defect guide


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