Think of Bug Parts as "All Natural" Ingredients - The UltimateFatBurner Blog

Think of Bug Parts as “All Natural” Ingredients

Years ago, I read a pithy quote attributed to the great 20th century geneticist J.B.S. Haldane: As the story goes, Haldane was in the company of a group of theologians, one of whom asked what his (Haldane’s) study of creation had taught him about the Creator. Haldane’s response: the Creator had “an inordinate fondness for beetles.”


It may be apocryphal, but so what? It illustrates a point about the world we live in rather neatly. To wit: there are an estimated 350,000 known species of beetles. According to one estimate, they may account for 25% of the life forms on Earth. And that’s just beetles. There are more than a million insect species that have been identified, with more being discovered every year.

Point being: “our” world is literally crawling with bugs. It’s their world, we just live in it.

That’s why this ABC article, “Bugging Out: Chocolate Allergy Linked to Roaches” made me laugh.

Allergy sufferers who react to chocolate might be shocked to learn their allergy could be linked to something other than the cocoa bean: an allergy to cockroaches.

An average of 8 insect parts are found in a chocolate bar and deemed safe, according to the FDA’s guidelines.

“Most foods have natural contaminants in them, but there are levels which the FDA deems safe,” said allergist Dr. Morton M. Teich. “Anything more than 60 insect pieces per 100 grams of chocolate is rejected by the FDA. ”

…Teich says most of his patients are shocked at this information and swear off chocolate after discovering its contaminants. “Most of them say, ‘I’m not going to eat that anymore!’”

However if you think a simple switch of brands will keep you from safe from roaches, you’re wrong–cockroaches and their droppings seem to be indigenous to the cocoa bean.

The part that I found funny was the shocked reactions reported by Dr. Teich. Ok, sure… I majored in Food Science, and so learned about the allowable limits for bug parts in various food products as an undergrad. But neither I, nor any of my classmates were shocked by this, since it’s just common sense.

Think about it: our food supply is grown/raised out in the open; and harvested/stored/processed in massive amounts. While responsible processors do their best, there’s simply no way to completely eliminate/exclude insects from most food products in either a healthy or cost-effective manner… all processors can do is limit their presence. As such, there are gonna be some bug parts in most ag-sourced food products. It goes with the territory… which is why this Jezebel article on the subject was titled “All Your Food Is Full of Bugs. There Are Bugs in Your Mouth Right Now.” Probably not the title I would have written, but all things considered, it’s apt.

Thus, I won’t be eliminating dark chocolate from my life, simply because it contains trace amounts of cockroach crud. I’m not allergic, so as long as the manufacturer stays under the allowable max, I’m perfectly fine with it… it’s an “all natural” ingredient, after all.

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

1 Comment

  1. Sometimes the less you know about something like this, the better off you are. It is common sense to realize there are “bug parts” in most of our foods.

    That dosen’t bother me at all. Some people though, my wife included, get all “freaked” out about it. lol

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