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Pasta and Rice bugs

Last post Nov 01, 2009 11:35 AM by gameball . 2 replies.

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  • Pasta and Rice bugs


     I am not a nasty person, but this is kind of a gross question (or may be to some). I know in MOST cultures, people eat insects. I have always been curious about eating roasted grubs (I hear they taste nutty). Has anyone ever trying insects?


    OK, here is part 2. I have TONS of rice and pasta in my closet, and I notice that sometimes they get little black insects in them that almost look like pepper. I read online that these bugs do not carry disease, and they are so tiny they do not affect the taste of the food. So, is it really neccessary to throw away rice or pasta that has some of these tiny bugs in them,or is it just a cultural thing? I know when food is produced, there is a certain allowable amount of insect product allowed in it. So, am I really disgusting if I dont throw away this food, or is it just a Western taboo that makes us feel like we need to dispose of these items???
  • Re: Pasta and Rice bugs

    The tiny bugs in grain products are weevils.  Virtually ALL grains you buy (flour, cake mix, rice, cereal, etc) have the eggs in them.  Under the right circumstances, those eggs will hatch.  And then, if they possibly can, they will migrate to other products in your home.


    You're right--they're not harmful bugs.  Won't hurt you a bit if you eat one now and then.  Of course, most of us aren't into getting our protein that way.  However, if you don't want to toss out products that are otherwise good, that only have a few weevils in them, you can sift powdery ingredients like flour, cornstarch, cake mixes with a fine sifter to remove the live bugs.  If they're in things like pasta and rice, the bugs will float to the top of the water when you cook those things and can easily be scooped out with a spoon at that point.  I've done both those things over the years when I didn't want to throw away food.  Granted, I'd only do that if it was a mild infestation.  If you've got loads of the little things, you may want to just get rid of the stuff they're in and start over.


    Best thing to do, of course, is to prevent getting them in the first place.  Several suggestions.  Since proper storage is key--only buy from a grocery store that has a quick turnover of product, and that you know has stock stored properly in the back.  If you think weevils may be a problem, store each item separately, in a tightly sealed container or ziplock bag.  Try to avoid containers that have squarish lids--those straight sides aren't usually that secure--weevils CAN crawl through them.  Round-lidded containers are a better choice for grains.  You can store many of your grain products--rice, pasta, flour, etc--in the freezer or fridge.  The cold retards the eggs from hatching.  A side benefit there, is that cold flour is better for pie crusts and cookies than room temp.

    If you do find you have a major infestation, you do want to address it before it becomes more of a problem.  I'd get rid of all the buggy product, clean containers and cabinets well, and keep an eye on them for the next few weeks, in case any more come out of hiding.  And then definitely use the storage suggestions above.  The big reason for you to get rid of those things you mention, is that sooner or later, those little guys are probably going to find their way into other products in your cupboards.  It's always easier to solve any problem when it's still small.  I guess one thing you could do, if you are really adverse to tossing the food, is to cook up the rice and pasta, scoop the floating bugs from the water, then package the cooked product in freezer containers, toss in the freezer for future use.  I've frozen rice before (only because I had extra and didn't want to waste it) and it was fine.  Frozen mac and cheese is fine, so I imagine the pasta would hold up--but cook it al dente to be on the safe side.


    But have I eaten a few weevils in my time?  Sure.  I bet most of us have.  Is it something I worry about?  Not particularly.  I'd try to remove them, if possible, if I was aware they were in the house, but if I accidently ingest a few now and then, I know it's no big deal.

  • Re: Pasta and Rice bugs
    Toss those boxes and clean out the cabinet ,your box food will all have them now, cereal to. I would not eat any of it. But thats me.I keep flour and rice in freezer.