The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains a list of Food Action Defect Levels in the Code of Federal Regulations "to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard."
A local news station in Michigan got hold of this list and started asking people on the street how they felt about the number of bug parts allowed in their coffee and the amount of rodent "excreta" tolerated in their chocolate.
My local news station in Wichita, Kansas, broadcast their story Tuesday while I shook my head and chuckled. There were a lot of interesting faces as people looked from their cup to the list and back again.
In the end, I got the impression that the public is okay with a few bug parts (and laugh about getting the extra protein), but won’t stand for the poop.
We here at barfblog.com continually advocate keeping as much poop out of food as possible, and proudly wear our t-shirts that declare, "don’t eat poop" with a message about handwashing on the back.
But I’m not crazy. I realize, like the FDA (not the USDA, as asserted in the story, which primarily regulates only meat and poultry products), that it’s virtually impossible to keep the entire (non-meat and -poultry) food supply 100% poop-free. Therefore, I’m glad there are regulations in place to reduce the microbial risks associated with that poop. (The poop that got into the peanuts at the Peanut Corp. of America plant violated those regs.)
I’m just saying… some poop happens. Risks that cannot be eliminated can, and should, be controlled. Responsible, informed producers and consumers do this every day with tools like the FDA Defect Action Level Handbook and tip-sensitive digital meat thermometers.
Do your part: wash your hands and stick it in.