Although worms make up the cuisine of several cultures across the globe, we Westerners typically do not regard worms as a tasty source of sustenance, especially if they were not supposed to be a part of our meal in the first place. Being surprised by a worm in your food can be an extremely unpleasant experience, and this article is going to provide some examples of the types of worms one can potentially find in their food.
To start off, it is important that we note that this article will include parasitic worms, which, if contracted, need immediate treatment. However, as we are not medical professionals, this is not something we can provide nor give direct advice on. If any of our readers think they have contracted a parasite via food, or any other means, we urge them to consult a medical professional at the earliest opportunity.
Moving on, this article will briefly touch upon a variety of worms one can find in their food, from the irritating and often pictured apple maggot to the infamously controversial tapeworm. Let us start with the worst of the bunch, the tapeworm. Tapeworms are parasites which take mammals as hosts and typically live in the digestive tract to feed off the food that the host eats. By stealing the host’s food, they steal the nutrients and grow in length, reaching lengths of up to several feet. That being said, tapeworms will not show up in their mature form in food, but rather as eggs, especially in raw meats and fish, but also on fruits and vegetables. Thoroughly cooking one’s meat and washing one’s fruits and vegetables is the best preventative measure one can take against tapeworms. As we said before, if any of our readers have cause to believe they are infected with a tapeworms (or any other parasite for that matter), we urge them to contact a medical professional to get a diagnosis and treatment.
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Now we come to one of the tamer worms one can find in their food, the pantry moth larva (or the Indianmeal moth larva). Pantry moth larvae feed specifically on various food items produced and purchased by humans, which is quite odd when you think about it. Their diet includes: grains, dog food, spices and more. If any of our readers thinks they may be infested with these worms, which are small, clear-white worm-like creatures with brown heads, they are free to check out an older article we wrote on them.
Lastly, we come to a rather unexpected worm (not that anyone expects to find worms in their food), the horsehair worm. Horsehair worms are parasites that infest invertebrates and crustaceans, but never mammals, meaning that our readers do not need to worry about them in regards to their health. That being said, given that there are crustaceans (such as lobsters) and, in some cultures, insects, that we consume, it is possible to find horsehair worms in one’s food if they were infesting the host that one is about to eat. In actual fact, it is not only possible to find the worm inside the host that one is consuming, but outside the body as well! This is because the method by which horsehair worms exit their host is by violently bursting forth through its skin, which typically kills the host. In fact, one of our readers back in 2014 found a horsehair worm in their lobster sandwich!
To conclude, this has been but an introduction to the variety of worms one can find in their food, and this does not even include the various fruit and vegetable pests! If our readers would like to see a follow-up to this article that touches on more food pests, they can let us know in the comment section below. Until then, we hope that our readers are staying safe and warm during these unprecedented times.