We’ve come a long way from the disease-ridden, dystopian food production methods famously uncovered in Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Since this time, when descriptions of the unhygienic condition of most meat-packing plants shocked Americans, the FDA has put strict standards in place, requiring highly-trained workers and cleanrooms for meat packing, to ensure the safety and cleanliness of both fresh and processed food.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Most people would be shocked to discover exactly what types and amounts of revolting materials are allowed in FDA-approved food.
Maggots can be found in certain varieties of canned mushrooms. It is considered acceptable for up to nineteen maggots to be found in every hundred grams of mushrooms. Up to five percent of maraschino cherries can contain maggots, according to FDA standards.
A certain amount of mold is allowed in anything that is made with apples. The mold count must not exceed twelve percent on any particular fruit that is to be used in an apple product. In addition, up to forty-five percent of tomatoes used for tomato paste are allowed to contain mold.
Most commercial brands of white bread contain the ingredient L-Cysteine. This particular ingredient is added to keep the bread nice and soft. L-Cysteine, interestingly enough, is obtained for food production from poultry feathers and human hair, which are also known to be nice and soft.
4. Rodent Hair
Certain types of flour and macaroni are allowed to contain a limited amount of mice and rat hair. FDA-approved spices can contain one rodent hair for every ten grams of spice. Approximately twelve percent of all imported spices have been found to include rodent hair.
Lanolin is an oily substance that is derived from sheep wool. Lanolin has skin-softening properties and is found in many skincare product. It’s also used—and FDA-approved—to make chewing gum soft.
6. Insect Fragments
Insect fragments are allowed in many types of chocolate, including frosting. Insect fragment levels are considered acceptable so long as there aren’t more than fifty-nine fragments for every hundred grams of chocolate.
7. Grit and Sand
Getting a taste of the beach in your peanut butter is deemed acceptable by the FDA, so long as the particles don’t exceed twenty-five milligrams for every hundred grams of peanut butter.
Most of these substances are allowed in food products because they’re harmless. Disgusting, yes, but as the old saying goes, “A little dirt never hurt anyone”.