True grit – and a bug or two

I always knew there was good reason to loathe peanut butter! That is, aside from the taste, the texture and just about everything else about it. This gluey pasty muck was the food group I hated most as a child – and I’ve just found that I was right all the time. Oh how gratifying it is to be proved right after all these years…


Tim Manners writes about the FDA’s standards of ‘acceptable contamination’ in food – in particular, peanut butter. It seems that based on economic grounds, its perfectly acceptable to have a level of contamination that is makes food ‘offensive to the senses’ – as long as its not dangerous. On many levels this makes good common sense. Its far more sensible than the EU’s obsession with uniformly-shaped potatoes (or any other vegetable). Personally, I don’t care how straight my carrots were before they landed up on my plate.

But for some reason, I find it slightly disturbing that the FDA’s standard of acceptable contamination for peanut butter, just as an example, allows for a 530g jar of this highly nutritious kids’-favourite-food to include

  • 145 bug parts,
  • 5 or more rodent hairs (how many more, I have to ask?), and
  • up to 125g of grit!

But perhaps I’m just being squeemish and its my peanut-butter prejudice showing…

Photo credit: Denis Collette