Are there bugs in peanut butter?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Are there bugs in peanut butter?”. We will also discuss how these bugs get into the peanut butter, if it is safe to eat peanut butter with bugs, and what other foods contain bugs.

Are there bugs in peanut butter?

Yes, there are bugs in your peanut butter. This might sound very strange and shocking if you’re learning about it the first time, but it is actually true. 

According to the government’s official Defect Levels Handbook, a ratio of 30 bug fragments per 100 grams of tasty spreadable is permissible. In a typical (28-ounce) jar of peanut butter, this amounts to around 238 bits. It is very common to have these insect parts in peanut butter or any other packaged item than you may think.

How do these bugs get into peanut butter?

These microscopic bugs or insect particles get into peanut butter during the pre- or post-harvesting methods. They may occur during peanut butter manufacturing itself, which allows for minute parts of insects to fall in. The same can be said for organic peanut butter, almond butter, and nearly any other type of butter.

2 tablespoons of peanut butter are the standard serving size. That means each peanut butter may contain approximately eight bug fragments and a trace of rodent material. Peanut butter is not the only product that has these bug fragments. 

With the number of insect fragments that get into the food during the manufacturing process, pre-harvest, or post-harvest, it is impossible to collect and produce natural food products without these contaminations. Filtering them all out would also be very difficult, so they are just left as it is unless the contamination is so high that it is harmful for health.

Is it safe to eat peanut butter with bugs?

Yes, it is safe to eat these peanut butter with bugs. Insects have been consumed by humans for thousands of years and are considered to be great sources of protein. Insects detected in peanut butter are microscopic and pose no health risks.

The FDA enforces tight restrictions to ensure that the food supplies are safe and hygienic, but since these tiny insect bits pose no health risks they are neglected during the inspection. The ratio of bug fragments cannot exceed permissible levels, so any health concerns are out of the question.

These defect levels are also not representative of an overall average. Instead, they serve as the foundation for deciding whether a food product is contaminated and hence liable to government action. Increased pesticide use could reduce the number of bug body parts in peanut butter, but that market opens up a whole new can of worms.

What other foods have bugs in them?

Many dried and packaged foods including pasta, chocolate, spices, dried fruits, coffee beans, nuts, cereal grains, and powdered milk have bug residues in them. Beetles, mealworms, roaches, and maggots are some of the common bugs found in these foods. Let us discuss the number of insect fragments they contain:


The FDA specifies that less than 60 insect fragments per 100 grams of chocolate are considered safe for consumption. The bug fragments in chocolate average about 60 fragments per 100 grams. Among the most prevalent contaminants discovered in chocolate are cockroach parts.


Many dried as well as ground spices also contain bits of insects and bugs. Even fresh ginger may contain some insect contaminants.

  • Ground cinnamon may contain up to 400 insect parts per 50 grams.
  • Black pepper also contains approximately 475 insect body fragments per 50 grams.
  • Whole ginger can have up to three milligrams of mouse feces (mammalian excreta) per pound.


Before banning a product off grocery store shelves, the FDA allows up to 225 bug fragments per 225 grams of pasta. Most of these insect fragments enter the pasta through wheat grains during the manufacturing process, which can contain up to 75 insect pieces per 50 grams.


Whole insects or fragments of bugs can easily enter the raisins, especially since their production and the post-harvest process can be pretty lengthy and unhygienic. According to FDA criteria, one cup of raisins can contain up to 35 fruit fly eggs and 10 complete insects.


In this brief guide, we have answered the query, “Are there bugs in peanut butter?”. We have also discussed how these bugs get into the peanut butter, if it is safe to eat peanut butter with bugs, and what other foods contain bugs.


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