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December 1, 2011 at 9:06 AMComments: 4 Faves: 0

All We are Saying is...Give Moldy Food a Chance?

By Laura Hogg More Blogs by This Author

Welcome back to FitChatter - your weekly source for the latest news in diet and exercise! This week in the news:

Do you believe in second chances?

How about for moldy food?

Unfortunately, many food manufacturers do. It's called "reconditioning," and I'm warning you, this could get a little gross.

Last month, Washington school lunch supplier Snokist came under fire from the FDA for repackaging moldy applesauce into canned goods and fruit cups, causing illness in nine children. A disgusting enough event on its own, to be sure. But this week, it has come to light that this "reconditioning" isn't so much an isolated incident as it is standard industry practice - and it's legal.

All in the name of profit, many companies reuse defective food items. In some cases - such as the grinding up of misshapen pasta to form semolina, or even the mixing of defective blueberry ice cream with chocolate ice cream - it's not really a big deal. But in other cases, the resulting product, though edible, is not necessarily appetizing or safe. Usually the offending portion is cut off and the rest of the product is heat treated. This, in theory, renders it safe.

The problem? In many cases, such as with moldy food, the contamination can be so extensive that it's nearly impossible to make sure that all the toxins are removed. That's why the FDA is so up in arms about Snokist.

Personally, even if I could have absolute assurance that all the mold had been removed, I still wouldn't want to eat it, because, well...moldy applesauce.

But even in food that hasn't been reconditioned, the FDA has some standards that might make you lose your appetite. The Daily Mail recently reported that they allow up to:

  • 60 insect fragments per 100 grams of chocolate
  • 20 maggots per 3.5 oz drained canned mushrooms
  • 60 insect fragments per 100 grams of corn
  • a 20 percent mold count on pineapple

Though it is undeniably gross, it is understandable that the FDA can't have a zero tolerance policy; that would be impossible to maintain, and most of these contaminants are not harmful to humans. But be that as it we really want to be eating this stuff?

What do you think? Should the FDA tighten up its regulations? Sound off in the comments!


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  • "60 insect fragments per 100 grams of chocolate" I just ate a snickers bar... :/ lol.

    Hmm, see I am the type of person who eats food if it fell on the floor. 5 second rule! So to me, these FDA standards are fine. It's gross to think that we need to set standards like these though. But our food does grows in the ground and can have dirt and insects in them. As long as it's not too much, I don't think it's harmful.

    It's the chocolate standard that does weird me out because normally things like that are made in a factory...which I would think would be more clean.

    BUT I will say I am against reconditioning of food. That's taking it a step too far. Mold means food has gone rancid...time to throw it away.

  • Oh and great blog, Laura! :)

  • 60 insect fragments? That sounds really gross. Of course, now I'm glad I don't eat canned mushrooms with 20 maggots per can!

  • eeewwwww.....

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