You eat an average of one to two pounds of flies, maggots, and other bugs each year without even knowing it, according to the Scientific American blog. But don’t panic—they are perfectly safe to consume. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually permits a small number of insects in food products, because it would be impossible to filter them all out.
The 16-ounce jar of peanut butter in your pantry can contain up to 136 insect parts before it is deemed contaminated, according to the FDA’s Food Defect Action Levels guide. This may sound bizarre, but it’s not uncommon for insect fragments—including their heads, bodies, and legs—to accidentally end up in the food we eat. Bugs are constantly present during the food manufacturing process, from the field where the food is grown to the storage and transit of the food to your grocery store.