“Do you want eggs with that?”

What are the levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans? For answers, see the online Defect Levels Handbook of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

“These ‘Food Defect Action Levels’ listed in this booklet are set on this premise–that they pose no inherent hazard to health.”

In other words, the levels listed are those which trigger action, meaning the food is deemed unsafe –  levels below the limits are officially ok.

Some examples:

Drosophila fly (AOAC 955.46) Average of 10 or more fly eggs per 500 grams OR 5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 500 grams OR 2 or more maggots per 500 grams.


Mold (AOAC 945.94) Average mold count is more than 20%
Insect filth (AOAC 977.25B)  Average of more than 75 insect fragments per 25 grams.
Rodent filth (AOAC 977.25B)   Average of more than 11 rodent hairs per 25 grams.


Insects (MPM-V53) 10 or more dead insects (whole or equivalent) in 1 or more subsamples OR 5 or more dead insects (whole or equivalent) per 100 grams.


Insects (AOAC 964.23)   Contains 13 or more insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples.


Rodent filth (AOAC 950.91)  1 or more rodent excreta pellets are found in 1 or more subsamples, and 1 or more rodent hairs are found in 2 or more other subsamples OR 2 or more rodent hairs per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples OR 20 or more gnawed grains per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples.


Parasites (copepods) (MPM-V28)  3% of the fillets examined contain 1 or more copepods accompanied by pus pockets.


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