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Live insects in packaged food

Image 1 - Live insects in packaged food

Occasionally, live insects are found in stored food, such as flour, cereal, dried fruit, spices and other dried goods.

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How infestation occurs

Live insects can end up in food at any part of the food distribution chain. This includes the harvest site, manufacturer, retailer or even at your home.

All stages of an insect's life cycle (egg, larva, pupa and adult) may be present when found in food. Some of the common insects that you may find include types of moths, beetles or weevils.

Insects can multiply in a package and can spread to other stored foods. Most live insects are found in stored food that has been opened, but insects can get into unopened paper, thin cardboard, and plastic, foil or cellophane wrapped packages.

Common signs of infestation

How to prevent live insects in food

Product safety

Image 2 - Live insects in packaged food

Finding live insects in stored food may be unappealing, but it does not pose a health risk.

Although it is uncommon, fresh produce may harbor pests that pose a threat to consumers. See our Safety measures when finding spiders, scorpions, or blister beetles in fresh produce for more information.

What to do if you find live insects in food

If you find live insects in food, you should report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). In some situations, the CFIA may conduct follow-up activities.

You may also throw away the contaminated food or return it to the store where you purchased it.

Thoroughly clean the cupboards and surfaces where the food was stored by using a vacuum cleaner to clean cabinets and shelves. Empty the vacuum cleaner after use to prevent re-infestation and wash or disinfect all surfaces.

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