DAILY DIRT: They’re called ‘food defects,’ and you probably don’t want to know about them


Daily Dirt for Saturday, June 22, 2024

I may have to make some serious changes to my culinary desires … Welcome to today’s three thoughts that make up Vol. 985 of The Daily Dirt.

1. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to pass on this first note.

“Brace yourselves, America: Many of your favorite foods may contain bits and pieces of creatures that you probably didn’t know were there,” writes Sandee LaMotte for a recent CNN report. “How about some mice dung in your coffee? Maggots in your pizza sauce? Bug fragments and rat hair in your peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”

Called “food defects,” these dismembered creatures and their excrement are the unfortunate byproduct of growing and harvesting food, according to CNN. “It is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects,” the U.S.Food and Drug Administration says.

That may very well be true, but it doesn’t make me feel any better that I may been eating some or all of the following, according to CNN:

  • As you sprinkle black pepper on your morning eggs, try not to think about the fact you may be eating more than 40 insect fragments with every teaspoon, along with a smidgen of rodent hair.
  • Peanut butter has an average of one or more rodent hairs and 30 (or so) insect fragments per every 100 grams, which is 3.5 ounces. The typical serving size for peanut butter is 2 tablespoons (unless you slather). That means each 2 tablespoon-peanut butter sandwich would only have about eight insect fragments and a teensy bit of rodent filth. (“Filth” is what the FDA calls these insect and rodent food defects.)
  • Apple butter is permitted to contain up to 12 percent mold, which is better than cherry jam, which can be 30 percent moldy, or black currant jam, which can be 75 percent moldy.
  • Golden raisins are allowed to contain 35 fruit fly eggs as well as 10 or more whole insects (or their equivalent heads and legs) for every 8 ounces. Kid-size containers of raisins are an ounce each. That’s more than four eggs and a whole insect in each box.
  • There can be 450 insect parts and nine rodent hairs in every 16-ounce box of spaghetti.
  • The FDA allows about two maggots in a 16-ounce can of tomatoes, tomato paste and sauces.
  • Adding mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce or pizza? For every 4-ounce can of mushrooms there can be an average of 20 or more maggots of any size.
  • Paprika can have up to 20 percent mold, about 75 insect parts and 11 rodent hairs for every 25 grams (just under an ounce). A typical spice jar holds about 2 to 3 ounces.

That preceding information, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg. But I think you get the idea. Now, pass the Pepto, please.

2. Did you know (Part 44)

  • That caddies for the leading pro golfers earn more than a $1 million a year. Example: Ted Scott, the caddie for Masters champion Scottie Scheffler, has already earned $1.8 million this season. Caddies earn 5 to 10 percent of a player’s winnings each tournament.
  • That Sorrell Booke, the actor who played Boss Hogg on the Dukes of Hazzard, was a former CIA operative who could speak fluently in 12 languages and earned a Master’s degree from Yale at age 21.
  • That the Mona Lisa painting has no eyebrows. It was a trendy Renaissance thing.
  • That Chuck Norris does not need a refrigerator. His food stays fresh out of respect.
  • That when two-time defending WNBA champion Las Vegas hosts Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever on July 2, the most expensive tickets will be $10,000, up from the normal $650. And they’re already all sold. In fact, the game will be a complete sellout at the 20,000-seat T-Mobile Arena. The game was moved from the 12,000-seat Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay.

3. Love him or hate him …

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, arguably the loudest man on sports television, is in the early stages of contract negotiations with The Worldwide Leader. Right now, there is no clear indication that Smith will — or will not — be back at ESPN after his current deal expires in a year.

Smith is currently making $18 million a year, and media reports indicate it may take $25 million a year to keep him. Early reports have ESPN offering no more than $20 million.

Stay tuned. 

Steve Thought O’ The Day – For those of you complaining how hot it has been — and will be for the coming days — just remember those complaints when you are shoveling three feet of snow in December and January.

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. Now he’ll be looking for Stephen A. money.

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