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What Defects the FDA Allows in 11 Types of Food

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Because of the way foods are mass harvested, factory processed and packaged in the States, the FDA has to allow food companies to include a certain number of “defects” in the final products. The term “defects,” we learned, is code for the inclusion of “foreign matter” in canned and packaged foods, including insects, insect parts, rodent hairs, larvae, rodent poop, mammal poop, bone material, mold, rust, and cigarette butts. These “defects” are not dangerous in the quantities they’re allowed, the FDA says, but still: what was that about ignorance and bliss?

Here’s a taste of what you can expect to find on the table. Bon appétit!

1. Canned mushrooms can include more than 20 maggots “of any size” and 75 mites, per 100 grams. Same goes for 15 grams of dried mushrooms. No more than 10% of your mushrooms can be “decomposed.”

2. For every 100 grams of ground cinnamon, it’s OK to include 400 or more insect fragments (legs, heads, wings, thoraxes, etc.), and 22 or more rodent hairs—a substance the FDA charmingly refers to as “rodent filth.”

3. Brussels sprouts can include 30 or more tiny insects, called aphids, per every 100 grams of veggie.

4. Up to 60 percent of frozen berries can be moldy, with an average of 4 or more larvae, or 10 or more whole insects, per 500 grams. To give you an idea of what that means for you: most pie recipes call for about 550 grams (5 cups) of berries.

5. The FDA says it’s OK if 15 percent of a can of cranberry sauce is moldy.

6. Apple butter is allowed to be 12 percent moldy. For every 100 grams of apple butter, it’s OK to have four or more rodent hairs and an average of 5 or more “whole or equivalent” insects. The average serving size of apple butter is about 30 grams, so no worries: you’re only ingesting a little more than 1 rodent hair and 1.6 insects per serving!

7. The turkey meat in turkey burgers, turkey dogs, turkey patties and nuggets has been “mechanically separated” from the bone. That’s code for: an entire turkey, bones and all, has been forced through a sieve under high pressure, oozing—to quote the FDA—a “paste-like and batter-like poultry product” on the other side. That “paste-like” poultry product contains a high percentage of “ground, crushed and pulverized bones,” evident in high levels of calcium, which is cool with the FDA.

8. Meat of all sorts—ground beef, chicken nuggets, taco filling, etc.—must include at least 35 percent actual meat. The other 65 percent doesn’t have to be meat, and can be made up of any mixture of edible fillers and chemicals, including cornstarch, water, soy, maltodextrin, silicon dioxide, food colorings and artificial flavoring.

9. Tomato paste, pizza sauce or other sauces can include 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams. Alternatively, you can have 15 or more fly eggs and one or more maggots, OR two or more maggots, but not all of the above.

10. Cocoa beans can be 4 percent moldy or insect infested, but only 6 percent moldy and insect infested. More than 10 milligrams of “mammalian excreta” is permitted per pound of cocoa beans.

11. In 100 grams of corn meal—that’s roughly the amount required by your average corn bread recipe—the FDA says it’s OK to have two or more “whole insects,” 100 or more insect fragments, and either 4 rodent hairs or 2 or more chunks of rodent poop. Yum!

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Animals
25 Benefits of Adopting a Rescue Dog
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According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs enter shelters each year in the United States. Although that number has gone down since 2011 (from 3.9 million) there are still millions of dogs waiting in shelters for a forever home. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month; here are 25 benefits of adopting a shelter dog.

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fun
How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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