Hey, it’s all protein. You unwittingly eat insects all the time

A friend once told me when he lived in the Middle East as a child, he would find cockroaches in his Cheerios and Frosted Flakes all the time.

He said at first, the cereal ended up immediately in the trash. After awhile, he’d just pick out the bugs and pour himself a bowl. Eventually, he just ignored the bugs. “Hey, it’s all protein,” the friend said, delivering the punch line of what was a joke disguised as a travelogue.

But the fact is, Americans eat bugs all the time. You may have just eaten some insects for lunch.

The Food & Drug Administration allows for certain levels of bugs and other contaminants in food because largely insects generally don’t pose a health a risk.

So what does the FDA allow?

Pasta can contain up to 225 insect fragments. One percent of your chocolate can contain insect parts. That cup of raisins can have up to 33 fruit fly eggs. Spinach can have up to 50 aphids per 100 grams.

And you don’t want to know about a 3.5 ounce can of mushrooms. Too late: one can is allowed to have nine maggots and 74 mites. Maggots aren’t exactly naked to the human eye, FDA.

The FDA has previously confirmed there may be up to an “average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams” of peanut butter and an “average of one or more rodent hairs per 100 grams.”

You can check out the whole agency’s bug-friendly list by clicking here.

Americans are so grossed out about bugs as food, eating insects are used as crazed feats on shows like Fear Factor. In 2004, the Palm Beach Post interviewed Kelly Crosby-Heyniger of West Palm Beach who got a spot on the show by eating a 7-inch worm for her audition tape.

“I chewed him instead of swallowing, and I smiled really big for the camera to show all the dirt I had in my teeth,” she said.

For eating? “Yes.” For soup? “Yes.” For sandwich? “Yes.” (Photo by Quinn Comendant/Creative Commons)

Intrepid Palm Beach Post reporter Susan Salisbury has been all over the nexus of insects and food like DDT for years.

In 2013, she wrote about how the yogurt king Dannon was under fire by a consumer group to stop using, as Salisbury put it, “critter-based dye.” Insects are also part of lipstick, shampoo, and other products which often have a red-hued.

Salisbury also interviewed in 2015 Penn State University food science professor on how insects could be part of a nutritious diet.

Florida is known for its insects, and Floridians spend millions trying to kill many of them, whether it’s roaches, ants or termites.

Penn State University food science professor  John Coupland, suggested to start out slow and work your way up to bigger creepy-crawlies.

“I don’t think your entry-level insect needs to be a fried cockroach,” said Coupland, who is also a spokesman for the Institute of Food Technologists.  “Try and eat something that doesn’t look like an insect, to begin with.”

 He suggested suggests catching a cricket, cleaning it, drying it out and grinding it up.  “There is a huge range of bugs that can be eaten,” he said.

But, of course, just because bugs can be eaten doesn’t mean they should be crawling over your restaurant dish. Consumers should be very concerned with restaurants which have a cockroach problem, the Post reported in February.

Insects can be a nutritious part of your diet, Penn State professor says.

If you are bugged out about bugs as food, you are being a little American-centric.

CBS affiliate, WESH-TV, in Orlando notes that Spencer Michaels, reporting for the PBS News Hour, found that 80 percent of the world’s population eats insects as a regular part of their diet.

Scientists have identified  1,700 of the 1.1 million species of insects are edible. And yes, they contain lots of protein, hardly any fat and do not cause the types of illnesses caused by eating beef or pork.

 

Frat prank: Peanut butter smeared on allergic college student

Parents of children with nut allergies know it’s no laughing matter. Mr. Peanut might as well be the Grim Reaper.

So when a mother of college student Andrew Seely learned that her son had been smeared with peanut butter as a frat prank at Central Michigan University, she went to Facebook. Her post has gone viral, according to Detroit news station WINK. 

A photo of her 19-year-old son shows him with a swollen face, one eye nearly closed. The incident occurred in October at Alpha Chi Rho fraternity during his first semester. He was smeared with peanut butter while he slept.

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An outraged mother’says her son suffered a severe allergic reaction to peanut butter, after it was rubbed on his face while he was asleep at an off-campus fraternity back in October.

“We found out that our son was a victim of a hazing incident,” Seely wrote in a post that has since been shared by more than 1,400 people. “This is a picture of what they did to him. He has a deadly peanut allergy and they rubbed peanut butter on his face while he was passed out.”

The university and local police were contacted by the Seely family

“My heart just sank to my stomach when is saw [the photos],” Andrew’s dad, Paul Seely said.

“As time goes on, the reality sets in — he could have died. He really could have. If peanut butter had gotten into his mouth it would have been dire.”

A professor took Andrew to the campus health clinic for treatment.

“Obviously this is very concerning and we take these things very seriously,” said Heather Smith, director of communications at Central Michigan University.

Smith said the fraternity involved, Alpha Chi Rho, was officially disbanded on the campus in 2011 and are not recognized.

Andrew left the school at the end of the semester and transferred to a different school.

“He’s been very emotional about this as he understands how serious this is,” the teen’s father said. “He can’t get his head around it. It’s really affected him — he had to get away.”

Read more about the story at WINK by clicking here.

West Palm family mourns son, warns of nut allergy dangers

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: In this photo illustration, A jar of Smucker's Natural peanut butter is pictured on October 12, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. This summer's hot, dry weather devastated the Runner peanut crop, the variety most commonly used in making peanut butter, causing prices of raw peanuts to soar. The resulting increase in peanut prices is expected to raise the price consumers pay for peanut butter by more that 25 percent on most major brands. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Update Fri. Dec. 2: 

Oakley Debbs had a deadly combination: a severe allergy to nuts and acute asthma. And in a moment when the 11-year-old’s guard was down over the Thanksgiving holiday, a bite of coffee cake was all it took to fatally undo years of caution.

What torments his parents more than a week later is that they thought they had stopped the allergic reaction in its tracks.

Believing her son was on the brink of an asthma attack, she ran for that medication and her husband, Robert Debbs, stepped in.

Oakley Debbs’ heart stopped in a hospital room at 1:55 a.m. Saturday. But, says Robert, “He died in my arms Wednesday night when he was convulsing. He just went limp.”

Read the full story here. 

 

 

Original post: A West Palm Beach family is grief-stricken by the death of their 11-year-old boy over the Thanksgiving holiday, but is pushing through that pain with an aim to raise awareness about the dangers of nut allergies.

Oakley Debbs died from complications triggered by such an allergy while he was out of town visiting relatives for the holiday, family confirmed this week. A piece of cake appears to be the culprit.

Oakley was an athlete and a student at Roasarian Academy – and he favored red sneakers. And now his friends and family are donning them as well. His parents, Merrill and Robert Debbs, told our news partners at WPTV Channel 5 that they intend to start a foundation to raise awareness about food allergies, but for now the red sneakers are a symbol of support.

An estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of children in the United States have a food allergy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Serious allergic reactions typically come from eight foods or groups of food: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts. Yes, peanuts are not the same as tree nuts – you can have an allergy to one and not the other.

Food allergies among children have become more common in the last two decades, the CDC reports. And at their worst, those with allergies can suffer a severe reaction called anaphylaxis  when exposed to the offending food.

The reaction can happen within seconds or minutes of exposure and sends the body into shock. Symptoms can include rash, nausea and vomiting, but also sudden drop in blood pressure and the swelling of airways.

 

 

 

Researchers: Five-second rule is a myth – or is it?

The “five-second rule” that states you can eat food after it fell briefly on the floor is a myth, researchers at Rutgers University say.

This study contradicts research done at Aston University in England two years ago that found the less time food spends on the floor, the less germs it gets.food-dropped

CBS New York reports that the Rutgers brainiacs  say they’ve “disproven” the notion that it’s OK to eat food that’s fallen on the floor, as long as you do it within five seconds.

Time is relative when it comes to eating that donut you just dropped in the parking lot.

What matters, Donald Schaffner, a food science professor at Rutgers, is the amount of moisture present, as well as the type of surface. Time does play a factor, but is just a part of the “can I still eat it” question.

He said the study may seem light-hearted but is worthwhile because the practice is so widespread.

According to Rutgers Today, the test objects were  watermelon, bread, bread and butter and gummy candy. They were dropped on four surfaces:  stainless steel, ceramic tile, wood and carpet – and four different foods.

Watermelon garnered the most contamination, while gummy candy had the least. Carpet also had the lowest bacteria transfer rate.

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Are you going to eat that? Is the five-second food on the floor rule a myth? Rutgers researchers say yes. (Photo courtesy of Creative Commons)

“Transfer of bacteria from surfaces to food appears to be affected most by moisture,” Schaffner said. “Bacteria don’t have legs, they move with the moisture, and the wetter the food, the higher the risk of transfer.”

Though, he did say food contact times usually result in the transfer of more bacteria from each surface to food.”

So the debate continues, but we all know you are going to eat that Oreo you just dropped on the office break room floor.

 

Epi-Pen crisis sends Boynton Beach mom to Canada

A Boynton Beach mother says she hopes to buy EpiPens in Canada for her 8-year-old son after the price of the life-saving product for allergies skyrocketed in the U.S. by 400 percent.

Anna Pickman’s son, Zander, has a severe food allergy that her doctor says could be fatal. “The allergy is so bad he can’t even touch anything containing milk. Just from touching it, he breaks out in hives,” she said.

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Families of children with allergies s who need EpiPens have been hit with a 400 percent increase in the product.

Every school year she buys EpiPens for home and for school. This year when she went to CVS to buy them and was told that the medicine would cost $575 for one package of two (the dose is often two shots),

She thought it was $5.75.

Then when she said she needed another and the pharmacist said it would cost her total of $1,100.

“Then my jaw dropped. I don’t have $1,100 in my pocket,” Pickman said.

Pickman said in past years she has paid $100 and even nothing with a coupon and insurance. This August, her insurance said the cost was not covered because she had not met her deductible.

Heather Bresch – the CEO of Mylan, the company that makes EpiPens – has come under intense fire   surrounding the recent 400-percent increase in her company’s allergy injector that is used for peanut, milk and other food allergies, as well as for those allegeric to bee stings.

Mylan’s profits from selling EpiPens hit $1.2 billion in 2015. The drug in EpiPens is actually generic but Bloomberg reports that the epinephrine-delivery system by Mylan represented 40 percent of the company’s operating profits.

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Anna Pickman with her son, Zander, says she would have had to pay nearly $1,100 for EpiPens for her sons’ milk allergy.

In response to the backlash, Mylan is offering a generic EpiPen for half the price, or about $300 for a pack of two. It also has said it would increase financial assistance for uninsured patients. But the company has refused to reduce the price, meaning that either insurance or the patient ends up picking up the tab.

Pickman said she found it interesting that Bresch has received an increase in her CEO pay and that company has aggressively marketed the product.

She says there is only word to describe the EpiPen price gouging: greed.

Pickman’s husband, Sarge, will soon travel to Canada and she has done research and found that the product is far less expensive north of the border where drug costs are regulated. She hopes with prescription in hand she can get the much-needed life-saving medication for her son there.

In the meantime, she has a few EpiPens that have not expired and will rely on those until her husband heads to Canada with fingers crossed.