Yuck! Here’s How Many Insects You’re Eating Every Year

You've been munching on insect legs and heads for a long, long time.

Courtesy TerroAre you brave enough to try roasted grasshoppers? It probably wouldn’t be your first meal that contains insects. Odds are, you’ve been eating bugs this whole time—and you just never knew it.

Yep, you read that correctly. According to a new study by Terro, an ant and insect control company, bugs could be in your breakfast… or lunch… or dinner. After analyzing data from the FDA and FAO, Terro found that insect fragments are found in many of the foods that you’d buy at the grocery store (and it’s even legal!)

The highlights? By Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, frozen broccoli can have 60 insects per 100 grams (about 1/2 cup), Terro reports. Technically, the average coffee drinker could consume almost 140,000 insect fragments per year. And beetles are the most popular insects eaten globally; they make up 31 percent of bug consumption.

Sounds scary. But wait! Before you toss everything in your pantry, you’ll want to read the fine print.

While the idea of an insect head squished inside your chocolate bar might be pretty gross, it’s totally harmless. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “allows for a small amount of insect material that is guaranteed safe for human consumption to pass into our food,” Terro writes. “Otherwise, resource costs would be too unmanageable to eliminate all defects from food production.” Not to mention it’s nearly impossible to remove every single bug from food grown on farms.

Thankfully, there’s a lot of nutritional value in insects, too. Mealworms provide more protein than chicken or salmon, and crickets have almost as much iron as red beef, according to Terro’s research. So chow down—if you can stomach it!

Read Terro’s charts above for even more fascinating facts about your insect consumption. And by the way, not to gross you out, but there might be fecal matter in your coffee.

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