The Grossest Bugs You Don’t Know You’re Eating

Find out which foods contain the most bugs and how to avoid eating them.

By Emily Main


Sure, bugs are consumed around the world as a healthy source of protein. But in most places, the people who are eating them know they’re eating them. That’s not the case here in the United States, where we’re still a bit squeamish about eating insects as our sole source of protein. In a lax food-safety loophole, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided that allowing insects like mites and maggots is perfectly acceptable, to a degree, provided they don’t hinder the “aesthetic” quality of foods. Aesthetic or not, do you want to eat caterpillars? Here in the United States, it’s estimated that the average person unintentionally eats a pound of insects every year—and here are a few of the more disgusting bugs sneaking into your food.

If you've eaten frozen brocccoli then you've probably eaten thrips


At anywhere from 1/25 to 1/8 of an inch long, these tiny little winged parasites are legally allowed in apple butter, canned or frozen asparagus, frozen broccoli, and frozen Brussels sprouts.

Photo: (cc) Eran Finkle