bugs in bags and boxes!!!
Here's something I've wondered about from time to time...seems that whenever I buy bagged cat food, or boxed pasta, there are bugs to be found! Either the little worms and flying moth thingies in the cat food, or tiny little black beetle thingies in the pasta. They seem to find their way into any packaging that does not have an impermeable bag inside, or plastic coating outside. And I don't recall finding many, if any, when I lived in the States. I know to put stuff in the fridge or in plastic bags or tupperware, but these things seem to come to my place, right from the grocery store!
Does anyone know what they are and have any theories as to why they are so prevalent here in the tropics?
Protein--as in yum, yum?
My grandmother always said that they were often weevils in grains and such that you ate and you couldn't or didn't see them, so no need to worry about them when or if you did see them. I never quite bought the second part of her homespun wisdom, but I figure that there have probably been plenty of larvae etc. in my food and as long as I don't see them I'm good. : )
Some more of grandma's wisdom: keep grains and cereals in the freezer to keep any larvae from maturing
Off hand, I'd say temperature and shelf time are the culprits.
Stateside, many products are transported and stored in climatized conditions and don't necessarily spend a lot of time on store shelves (up front or in back), depending on your region.
Here, I suspect that only goods truly needing cooled conditions get them given the costs of energy here, and given the long transit and longer shelf time of some products here (how many of us want All Bran with fruit thingies in it? If not so many, it may be sitting a while...), it probably creates great conditions for bugs and larvae to survive and thrive.
Yeah, I've found the same thing. It's really a bummer when the infested item is "fresh" from the store. I wonder how much money I've wasted on pantry items that were purchased with bugs, packages that had a hole in them rendering the contents inedible, canned goods that have expired, and milk that despite the future expiration date is sour when first opened. This happens to me several times a week. I think I'm going to stop buying milk or else buy the shelf-stable variety.
It's a waste money but not worth the hassle to take the items back to the store. Just another hidden cost of living on a little island. I try to carefully inspect each item before purchasing but sometimes you just don't know until you get it home. And some times I'm in a hurry and don't scrutinize each item. I've also noticed a tendency for some stores to have items that are very close to or past their expiration (shelf goods and perishable goods). More than your typical stateside store. I don't know if this is due to the increased transit time or if the stores intentionally purchase stock that is nearing expiration (cheaper??). Or maybe I'm purchasing items that don't move off the shelf as quickly. Regardless of the reason, stores don't appear to monitor their shelves for expired items.
I figure that any frozen item I purchase has been thawed and refrozen several times on its journey to the store and to my home. I've seen supply trucks on the road carrying cases of items meant for refrigerated transit exposed to the shining sun. I've seen boxes of frozen or refrigerated supplies stacked outside of the load-in door at McDonald's while various employees loiter and make no move to bring the stuff inside to the freezer.
I've had mild food poisoning and various GI disturbances more times that I can count down here. Gotta wonder about the food.
One of my pet peeves are flat colas...........ok......rum and coke may not be my first priority in the morning but it is certainly my first priority for evening/sunset. Purchase case of cokes, get home, ice, rum, pop that top and arrrghh.......NO fizzle....... Not a unique thing for the VI. Happens in FL as well if we've been away for some time and didn't have a 'drink the house dry' party before we left. (hot climate being the culprit?) In the VI especially I watch the designs and the dates on the cans. If you see a can with a christmas/holiday design and it's April or May......I'm thinking that soda is gonna be flat. My husband has switched to rum and tea but I'm having a hard time making that transition.
Interesting tidbit...The "Dark and Diet" (Cruzan gold and Diet Coke), one of the most popular cocktails in the VI, got it's start years ago because Coke was served in bars from a gun and was usually flat, so people started ordering Diet Coke because it was new and wasn't in the gun yet, and the cans were still fizzy.
Anyway, back on track, I am very, very picky about food and drink, and I don't have much problem with flat sodas or sour milk ( I buy the organic, and for some reason it has a longer shelf life.) but the frozen, thawed, frozen... drives me crazy. The worst is the short life of fresh veggies and bread. I never liked putting bread in the fridge, but it's a must here unless you have a large family and go through it in a couple of days.
Stick your flour in the freezer for a couple of days as soon as you get it home. I keep flour in the freezer. Some stores are just infested with those critters that are in the pasta in much the same way as your pantry can be infested with those flying moth-like things. You should take it back to the store & if not, immediately double bag the pasta or whatever & toss it.
I think flour has the eggs anyway but they have time to mature into the flour weevils down here so if they aren't already grown when you take the flour home, freezing will kill them. I keep bay leaves in my cupboard which helps with those flying moths.
dates on canned goods is very wastefulCanned goods can last years, decades even.
As long as there are no leaks and not bloated the contents are almost always still edible.
If you look at paper bagged or boxed items in a store and see tiny holes, it is infested. I am taliking about holes smaller than a pencil lead.
Haha! Funny thing is, I just heard that SAME joke weevil yesterday! Weird, huh??
Those bugs are soooo annoying! The worst part is that I'm bringing them home from the store! I forgot to mention they were in a sealed package of bread crumbs, too! The package was FULL of them...$$ down the drain...oh well...
Thanks everyone for your comments and stories. I think Jules hit the nail on the head; it probably has to do with the longer transit time and the fact that products sit around here longer. And the stores buying old products.
good thing you have a job! You'd starve if you were a comedian, or I'd have to feed you! How about some pasta or bread crumbs, haha!
OK so I googled this and came up with similar discussions, too funny!
Guess I've gotten a little obsessed with this topic!
Back to work!
ok my last posting on this subject I promise!
But here's the best site I've found, listing ALL the bugs that get into your cupboards!
Hubby once bought flour from Pueblo that we discovered was brimming with little buggies. On my next trip, I took it back and gave them an earful. It's not about the $$$ but I think it's important to let them know it's not acceptable to allow items to expire or become contaminated.
Don't forget, the shelves get infested with these things. I kept complaining at Marina Market because every time I got pasta there, it was buggy. Finally somebody listened because the problem stopped. This was a couple years ago but the store needs to know about it & if they care, they'll do something about it.
Living here has switched me to soy milk. It took a little getting used to, but I only use it in cereal and cooking, and it's probably better for me anyway. Now I actually prefer it for those things.
One thing I'd say about the flat soda is that if you call the number on the back of the can and complain, they'll send you some coupons for free soda. Sometimes lots of coupons. Have the can handy, cuz they ask for all kinds of numbers from it.