Pantry Moths in Your Lunch?

A Super-Gross Reason to Avoid Processed Supermarket Food

You’ll be shocked how the disgusting pantry moths and their larvae get into your food.

Steve Holt

Moth-cerealIf you’ve opened the pantry door or a bag of rice and had a moth fly in your face, you may have wondered: How did the bug get in there?

Sarah Bryce asked herself that question when she found a pantry moth larva burrowed into a banana she had picked up to eat, before discovering dozens more inside packages of dry food in the cupboard of her Boston apartment.

“We were so disgusted,” Bryce remembers. “We just started pitching stuff. They were honestly in everything—inside cardboard boxes, and inside the plastic bags inside the boxes.”

After throwing away all her dry food except for a few items—“probably $100 worth”—Bryce bleached the cupboard and hoped she’d solved the problem. But no. A day later, while pulling something down from the cupboard, she looked up and saw, in a crack in the ceiling, what looked like insect pupa. Disgusted again and motivated to drive the unwanted pests from her home, Bryce set out to learn everything she could about the lifecycles of pantry moths, and how they—and their eggs—got in her food.

What she found would be perhaps the most disgusting revelation of all: that she’d most likely purchased the affected products from the supermarket with the pests and their eggs already living there.

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