Frog or toad: an unexpected secret ingredient?
I read with a mixture of horror and amusement about a South Bend, Indiana woman who discovered a partially dismembered toad in the green beans she served.
She had prepared a can of green beans from Meijer in the microwave, but hadn’t noticed the little toad lurking within, unwittingly serving it up for her son to find in a stomach churning way.
It brought back horrific memories of a similar experience I had several years ago when working in a regional hospital. At the time I was on night shifts and I frequently had a cup of hot chocolate as I wasn’t much of a coffee drinker at the time. To my disgust and amazement, I was approached at the desk one night by a cafeteria staff member who had discovered a tiny frog in the hot chocolate mix hopper as she was cleaning and refilling it. She brought it over in a styrofoam cup, making sure I got a good look. The thought that each cup of hot chocolate had been seasoned with ‘essence de grenouille’ turned my stomach. (Even in french it doesn’t make the thought any more palatable.)
Now, under normal circumstances, this additional ingredient is not acceptable. According to the scientific community and food industry, we each ingest up to two pounds of “flies, maggots and mites” each year, and that’s perfectly acceptable under current food safety standards.
The FDA’s booklet “The Food Defect Action Levels: Levels of Natural or Unavoidable Defects in Foods That Present No Health Hazards for Humans,” the established and acceptable levels of defects for a variety of food products are described. These acceptable contaminants include insects, their eggs, larvae and maggots; mites; insect and rodent filth (includes hair and waste); mold; rot; sand and grit; parasites; and other foreign matter.”
It’s in circumstances such as these that the old adage, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” really counts.