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Numerous insect species and mites are known to commonly invade food sources, which leads to widespread, yet largely harmless, insect-contaminated food products being sold in stores. By the time a food product becomes packaged and is set on a store shelf, detecting a presence of insects within the product can be difficult. At this point, food products contain mostly fragments of insect bodies that cannot be easily seen, and this is even the case in products that test positive for insect contamination. Although the Food and Drug Administration regulates the amount of insect matter that can legally exist within food products, insect-contaminated food products can still negatively impact human health in ways that are both direct and indirect.

Food products that contain fragments of insect and/or mite pests can directly impact human health, as even small insect fragments can be allergenic or carcinogenic. One of the most troubling indirect health effects of allowing small amounts of insect fragments within food products is the way in which these foreign fragments can alter the microenvironment within packages. For example, insect fragments that exist within food products that are meant to last for years under sealed conditions can rot within the preserved food product. These decomposing insect fragments or eggs, can lead to the development of fungal growths and dangerous microorganisms. In fact, some types of fungi that have grown within sealed food items produce dangerous toxins. Insects and mites may also actively and/or passively contribute to the spread of microorganisms within sealed food products. What is perhaps most troubling is that insects can serve as hosts for forms of disease-causing bacteria that may be resistant to antibiotics. Lastly, there exists many insect species commonly found within food products that are capable of serving as hosts to parasitoids and tapeworms, and many insects even transmit parasitoids and tapeworms directly to humans.

Would you prefer the FDA to enforce more stringent rules concerning the amount of insect matter allowed within food products?