Viral TikTok videos reveal that we have been consuming worms and bugs while eating strawberries

PHOTO: Unsplash

More often than not, knowledge is power. But sometimes, ignorance is truly bliss. And this is certainly the case with the recent revelations about strawberries, thanks to viral TikTok videos.

We have never seen strawberries look more revolting than with worms crawling out of their dimples it's soaked in salt water for 10 minutes.

@babyadrianne

SO GROSS!!! ##washyourstrawberries

♬ original sound - babyadrianne

And here's the really bad news, especially if you never really bothered to wash your fruits. Creepy crawlies living in strawberries is not new, and it is in fact, completely normal.

The plain truth is this: We have actually been eating bugs for as long as we have been eating fruits. As Greg Leob, an entomologist and professor at Cornell University told CNN, "If you're eating fresh produce, you're eating bugs."

This is because fruit flies, specifically the Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD), would often lay their eggs inside soft-flesh fruits, like raspberries, cherries, and strawberries, right before harvest, according to strawberry and small fruit crop entomologist Sriyanka Lahiri who is also an assistant professor at the University of Florida in an interview with Health.com.

"There are organisms on your fruit and even if it makes people uncomfortable, it's definitely not going to hurt them. Eating those bugs won't make you sick," says Leob.

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Since digesting fruit flies and other creepy crawlies found in strawberries is (fortunately) not harmful, not much action has been taken by food authorities around the world.

For example, the US Food and Drug Administration allows a certain percentage of defects to remain in the food, explaining that it is 'economically impractical' for crops to be a 100 per cent free from all defects, including bugs, worms and mould.

It sounds unsettling, but this is why eggs can hatch within the ripened fruit and, as we have seen on TikTok are forced out of hiding when the fruit is soaked in salt water.

You might be feeling queasy about having a little extra protein in your fruits, but Loeb shares that there is no need to go the extra mile when washing your fruits, just water alone is sufficient as the bugs that you might ingest are tiny ones that you won't even notice.

After all, people have been consuming strawberries and their hidden bugs for centuries with no known negative health effects, though you might just want to rinse for a few more seconds, for good measure.

joanwong@asiaone.com