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12 FDA Regulations That Will Scare You

Have you ever thought about where your meal has been before it's arrived safely onto your plate? If you knew, it might make you think twice about what you make for dinner tonight.

Insects, fecal matter, hair, and even cigarette butts are just a few "unpleasant bits" the FDA allows in your food. The regulated filth may not be visible at first glance, but it could be lurking in the cracks and crevices of your berries, fish, and candy.

Photo: user uploaded image

  • Cigarette Butts Are Allowed In Spices

    Cigarette Butts Are Allowed In Spices
    Photo: Sudipto_Sarkar / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Adding smokey flavor to your barbecue sauce is one thing, but when it comes to certain spices, consumers should know that the FDA does allow cigarette butts to be included under the label "foreign matter" when describing food contaminants. 

    Usually found in black pepper, white pepper, and mixed in with sesame seeds, cigarette butts certainly aren't common—but that's not to say there may not be remnants of Marlboros sprinkled into your stir fry one day.

  • If Your Raisins Have A Slight Crunch To Them, It's Probably Sand

    If Your Raisins Have A Slight Crunch To Them, It's Probably Sand
    Photo: Lea Aharonovitch / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    While it seems like having a picnic on the beach is the only way you might get sand in your food, the FDA allows for up to 40 milligrams of sand per 100 grams of raisins.

  • Rodent Hair Could Be In Your Chocolate Bar

    Rodent Hair Could Be In Your Chocolate Bar
    Photo: La Tarte au Citron / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Perhaps one of the most common items found in food is hair. Whether it's an eyelash or a loose strand, everyone has found a hair in their meal at one point or another.

    The FDA has established standards for the amount of rodent hair acceptable in food. The law addresses the size and quantity of the rodent hair follicles: in the case of chocolate or peanut butter, for instance, one hair per 100 grams of food is considered acceptable.

  • Your Fruits May Already Be Moldy

    Your Fruits May Already Be Moldy
    Photo: Jo Naylor / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    Leave your food exposed for too long, and it's bound to grow mold. But according to the FDA, a trace amount of mold isn't too much to worry about, at least when it comes to a few items such as tomato juice, paprika, and cinnamon. As for fruits? The FDA allows up to 3% of canned or frozen peaches to be "wormy or moldy" before they hit store shelves.

  • Insect Fragments Could Be In Your Cocoa

    Insect Fragments Could Be In Your Cocoa
    Photo: Pimthida / flickr / CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The FDA allows a certain number of insect fragments in food. Take a jar of cocoa powder, for example. For every 50 grams of cocoa powder, the FDA allows up to 75 pieces of insect fragments. So next time you're baking a cake, maybe double-check for any grasshopper or spider legs.

  • Feces? In My Cornmeal?

    Feces? In My Cornmeal?
    Photo: madaise / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    When it comes to animal feces, the FDA allows for a small amount of "animal excreta" in foods on grocery store shelves. In the case of cornmeal, a common baking ingredient, the FDA allows up to an "average of [one] or more rodent excreta fragment per 50 grams."