Sometimes I see people throw out an entire drink or bowl of food because a small bug was in it. Are they justified in doing this? Is there enough bacteria on common species of bugs (like ants, flies, beetles, dragonflies, caterpillars, moths, etc) to warrant any kind of health concern for a larger amount of food than what the bug was in contact with, or at all?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Most people don't care about hygiene. It's mainly the "eww" factor. However common houseflies often sit on fecal matter, so that's an issue though. $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2017 at 10:14
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You actually eat a lot of insects without even knowing it: blogs.scientificamerican.com/but-not-simpler/… $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


Well, first of all you should consider that insects and generally animals don't have so much hygiene, like us humans. Some of them, let's say the ants, yes some kind of hygiene is present, but not in the human degree. In fact, most insects are responsible for the most dangerous deseases in the world such as malaria , yellow fiver, sleeping sickness (espacially found in Africa because of the tsetse fly) and many kinds of encephalitis. This article claims that most of insects are carriers of deadly deseases. Also, about the second part of your question, you mentioned " If it is okay for bugs to touch food"... Well the answer is ofcourse no, because you don't know:

1. what the insect was touching before it "lands" to your food

2. If it has dropped any fecesto your food

3. And last but not least if the insect layed any kind of eggs to your food.

4. Some insects carry fungi that if a human being consumes them he might have serious problems, because some fungi are responsible for poisoning or infection.

The third one that I mentioned is responsible for the most cases of Tapeworm infection. This means that the eggs and larvae pass straight to your digestive system and create the infection. To sum up, unknown factors (like bugs) must not touch our food, because there is a chance of infection. To help you here's a wikipedia list that shows the most easily transmitted diseases to humans fron insects: List of diseases caused by insects.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ A lot of the carried disease you mention depend on insect bites, not food contamination. $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If bugs are really that bad, how come so many people eat them raw or nearly raw without getting negative side effects? $\endgroup$
    – DaneJoe
    Aug 2, 2017 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ @DaneJoe Each human has different hygiene rules.... $\endgroup$ Aug 3, 2017 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ @The_Mad_Fish No matter who you are, if you just eat a slice of raw chicken that's been sitting out for a day, you will get sick. This is not dependent on some cultural preference, there is at absolute statistical answer at least for individual species of bugs. $\endgroup$
    – DaneJoe
    Aug 3, 2017 at 13:51
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is misleading; the mosquito is the most deadly insect by numbers on the planet, and it doesn't result from landing (or pooping) on your food. $\endgroup$ Oct 2, 2017 at 2:48

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .