Here is a small sample of the FDA's "Food Defect Action Level" list.
They begin investigation when foods reach the action level they've set. According to the FDA, typical foods contain about 10 percent of the action level, but others say they contain more like 40 percent.
Everyone Loves Peanut butter! Right?...
CHOCOLATE AND CHOCOLATE LIQUOR
- Insect filth: Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined OR any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments
- Rodent filth: Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined OR any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs
CITRUS FRUIT JUICES, CANNED
- Insects and insect eggs: 5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml
RED FISH AND OCEAN PERCH
- Parasites: 3% of the fillets examined contain 1 or more parasites accompanied by pus pockets
MACARONI AND NOODLE PRODUCTS
- Insect filth: Average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
- Rodent filth: Average of 4.5 rodent hairs or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
- Rodent filth: 1 or more rodent excreta pellets are found in 1 or more subsamples, and 1 or more rodent hairs are found in 2 or more other subsamples OR 2 or more rodent hairs per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples OR 20 or more gnawed grains per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples
- Insect filth: Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams
- Rodent filth: Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 50 grams
Now lets see what else is in our food...Canned spinach:
Two or more caterpillars within 24 pounds are unacceptable, but they only count if they are 12 milimeters or longer.
2 or more maggots OR 10 or more fly eggs in 500 grams.
Must be less than 10 dead insects within 100 grams.
Can't have 9 milligrams or more of rat poop in a kilogram.
Can these things be avoided? To avoid all unsavory food components, it seems, would be to stop eating all together. And perhaps we're just being too squeamish. After all, as Dr. Manfred Kroger, a professor of food science at Pennsylvania State University, says, "Let's face it, much of our food comes from nature, and nature is not perfect."