The Reason For Freezing Dry Goods

After posting my video on how I bug-proofed my kitchen, I received a question about my practice of freezing my dry goods for a week after purchase. Tracy asked:

I like how you explained that with the airtight containers you would be able to see moths before you open the jar and that the infestation would be contained. In other words, you would know that your product was contaminated and therefore you would not use it. However, if you kill the larve in the freezer, how would you know? You would then unknowingly be eating larvae. Wouldn’t it be better to leave them out of the freezer so the larve could hatch and warn you not to eat it?

A good point, and I realize I should have addressed this in the other post. Basically, the point of freezing the products is to kill the moths while they are still eggs, before they hatch and become larvae. If you freeze the product as soon as you bring it home, it is more likely that any moths that got into the product are still just eggs. But, yes, this does mean that there would be dead eggs in your flour or rice, and that you would be eating them. Sounds gross, right? However, the eggs are microscopic, and while the idea of eating them is pretty gross, you would never see, feel or taste them, and they wouldn’t hurt you. Actually, just about any food product you buy is going to have what the FDA calls “unavoidable defects.”

Take a look at this list and scroll down to the entry for wheat flour. The FDA’s allowable limit for “insect filth” is “Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams.” So, short of milling your own flour and growing your own oats, having some undesirable product in your food is unavoidable. But at least by freezing it, I can keep the undesirable stuff at the microscopic level, before it grows into something else.

Which reminds me…I was looking at my WordPress stats to see how people were finding this site. Someone apparently found my previous post by searching for these words in Google:

founds some moths in my flour can i still use it

Maybe chomping into a moth larvae wouldn’t kill you, especially since many people around the world do eat various kinds of insects. And indeed, the reason I went to such lengths to have a bug-free kitchen was mainly due to the “ick” factor, rather than any health concerns. But if you’re asking the question, you probably have some doubts, so, when in doubt, throw it out! Unless you want a little “surprise” showing up in your cake or bread, just take the loss and buy a new bag of flour.

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One Response to The Reason For Freezing Dry Goods

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