Vegan and vegetarian Starbucks aficionados are aghast at recent revelations that the company replaced an artificial dye in its Strawberry Frappucino with cochineal extract. The dye, an approved food additive, is made from the crushed shells of cochineal beetles, which vegans and many vegetarians [as well as people who keep Kosher!] eschew as part of their dietary practices.
Unfortunately for vegans[and Kashrus observers], avoiding all animal byproducts — especially bugs– in the American food system is basically impossible. The Food and Drug Administration even keeps a list of how many bugs and bug parts manufacturers are allowed to have in their products — including many that vegans or vegetarians [and Jews] eat. So how much non-vegan/[non-kosher content] might be in your food? We had a look at the standards and, leaving aside how much animal feces and hair is allowed, compiled 10 of the grossest.
1. Frozen or canned asparagus
Producers are allowed to leave 6 or more attached asparagus beetle eggs and/or sacs on 10% of their spears and either: an average of 40 thrips per 100 grams; or make sure the remaining insects or insect parts have an average aggregate length of 7mm or longer per each 100 grams. Crunchy!
2. Canned lingonberries
They taste so good at Ikea — but that little extra protein comes from the 3 larvae per pound allowed.
3. Frozen Brussels sprouts
Look closely: producers can have up to 30 aphids or thrips in every 100 grams.
4. Canned orange juice
Tangy! Producers are allowed 5 fruit fly and other fly eggs or 1 maggot in each 250 milliliters.
5. Canned corn
Each 24 pounds of corn can have up to two corn ear worms or corn borer larvae less than 3 millimeters or longer, as long as the total larvae, shed skin or fragments thereof does not exceeds 12 millimeters.