“I bought a ham and cheese and found this nasty sight”, writes Sandra about what we presume to be an organism in the photo below. “My husband ate about half before noticing!” No more context is provided, and unfortunately it is very unclear what the photo is depicting, so we will not be able to provide a certain identification. All we can do is give an educated guess based on the types of worm-like creatures that would be eating ham and cheese, which would be maggots. Finding maggots in one’s ham and cheese would definitely constitute a nasty sight, and most people are revolted by the sight of maggots.
The term ‘maggot’ refers to any species of fly larva: they are the worm-like creatures that hatch from the eggs the adult flies lay. Like most insect species, flies have four basic life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. During ‘larvahood’, it is the maggot’s job to eat as much as they possible can so that they have enough stored-up energy to undergo pupation, the process during which they form a chrysalis and eventually metamorphose into their adult form (like a butterfly or moth!). When maggots infest food, that food instantly becomes inedible. This is because maggots can spread harmful bacteria, like E.Coli.
As such, Sandra should definitely throw out the ham and cheese, and her husband may want to consult a medical professional if he feels like anything is off after having eaten half of the food, or if he just wants to be sure that he has not contracted something. Likewise, she should throw out the rest of the food, and she should throw it in a bin outside–not inside. If she throws it in a garbage can inside her home, the infestation will just continue inside the garbage can and spread to the rest of her home from there. Of course, the infestation could continue in the bins outside and then the flies can come back into the home, so, if she wants to, she could freeze the ham and cheese for a minimum of 48 hours to eliminate the maggots before throwing it out.
To conclude, we cannot say for certain what Sandra found in her ham and cheese, as the photo does not show us any discernible creatures. Based on the context, it is possible she found maggots. In any case, our advice would be the same if the creatures were not maggots: throw away the food in a bin outside. She may even want to check other food items that were close to the ham and cheese for other creatures, and dispose of those items too. We hope this helps, and we wish Sandra, and her husband, the very best.
All About Worms is always free, always reader-supported. Your tips via CashApp, Venmo, or Paypal are appreciated! Receipts will come from ISIPP Publishing.