Are bugs in peanut butter?
Bugs in peanut butter, doesn’t that sound crazy?
There have been rumors that peanut butter contains bugs in them. Is that true or not? This is what you probably came to confirm.
Peanut butter has been a household delicacy for years and contains several nutrients necessary for growth. It is enjoyed by many people because of its taste and texture.
The United States is the highest consumer and exporter of peanut butter. It is so common, that it has its own holiday on the 24th of January.
Are There Peanuts In Peanut Butter?
Well, yes. Surprising right? Peanut butter indeed contains bugs and bug parts in it. This might spring up a lot of questions in your head like why, how and when does bugs enter peanut butter.
How Many Bugs Are In Peanut Butter?
This is an important question. Is any amount of bugs or bug part acceptable in peanut butter?
Fortunately, that is not the case. For each peanut butter you eat, there are an acceptable number of bugs and bug parts that is safe for consumption. If any peanut butter contains more than this amount, it is deemed unsafe and therefore discarded.
This safety level of bug content in peanut butter is approved by regulatory bodies.
For peanut butter, the allowed number is 30 bug parts per 100 grams. Therefore for each 100 grams of peanut butter, it is allowed to see 30 bug parts or less. A typical jar of peanut butter is about 510g or 180z and may contain as much as 150 bug parts. That sounds plenty, right?
When Do Bug Parts Get Into Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is made from ground and roasted peanut. Additional ingredients like salt, oil and sugar to improve the taste and texture. Peanut is an underground legume that grows beneath the soil. Due to this fact, it is also called groundnut.
The soil is home to many bugs and rodents. Therefore it is inevitable to take in bug parts during the harvesting of peanut butter. During harvest, some of these bugs might die and their parts will attach to the peanuts. One way or the other, these bug parts find their way into the harvest.
However, production plants have rigorous cleaning process to take out these bug parts. This will involve washing and cleaning of the peanuts to get them ready for processing. However, some of the bug parts still remain attached to peanuts even after the cleaning process.
Every peanut manufacturing company has advanced cleaning equipments to drastically reduce the amount of bug parts in the harvest. It is important to note that there is currently no way to ensure a 100% bug-free peanut butter.
After processing of the nuts into peanut butter, each batch is tested in the lab for bug parts. If it is within the safety range of the regulatory organization, it can be moved to consumers. However, if it exceeds the safety level of 30 bug parts per 100 grams of peanut, then the whole batch is discarded.
The regulatory organization mounts strict surveillance on the manufacturing plants. Therefore to maintain standard and quality, peanut butter producing companies periodically send samples to the regulatory body for testing.
Can The Number Of Bugs In Peanut Butter Be Reduced?
The regulatory organization has created a safety level for peanut butter. And as you know it is 30 bug parts per 100 grams of peanut butter. This is to ensure uniform standard across all peanut butter of all brands.
Now, one might wonder why manufacturing plants can not reduce the number of bugs in peanut butter or even completely eliminate it. Unfortunately, with the current technology available, it is impossible to totally remove bugs from peanut butter.
I’m sure with the popularity of peanut butter; several companies would have tried to eliminate bug parts from peanut butter, so they can claim a 100% bug-free brand. However, that has not been possible so far.
The best these manufacturing companies can do is to drastically reduce the bug parts below the level stipulated by the regulatory organization. Therefore, they use all the equipments in their arsenal to reduce the number of bugs and bug parts in peanut butter to the barest minimum.
Some people have proposed the use of pesticide to kill off bugs before processing of peanut. However, that would not really solve the problem. In addition, you would be adding toxic chemicals to the peanuts making it unsafe to consume.
Therefore if you currently clamour for a 100% bug-free peanut butter, you’re just indirectly saying you do not want peanut butter. This is because the available technology and equipment is not yet able to completely separate bug and bug parts from peanuts.
Is It Safe To Eat Peanut Butter?
As you have confirmed the presence of bugs in peanut butter, you might want to know its implication on your health. Is it safe to eat? Does peanut butter contain other foreign elements?