It is a fact that bugs in all of their life cycles can be harmful to your stored food sources. They are one of the true enemies of your food supply and can usually be avoided by properly storing food for long-term use. But there are times when they find a way to get into your food supply. While these infestations may prevent humans from consuming it, take comfort in knowing that all is not lost! But first, the facts!
Pantry pests damage food by contaminating it with their bodies and their by-products. According to an integrated pest management system, nearly all dried food products are susceptible to insect infestation, including cereal products (grains, oats, cornmeal, rice, spaghetti, crackers, and cookies); seeds such as dried beans and popcorn; nuts; chocolate; raisins and other dried fruits; spices; powdered milk; tea; and cured meats.
The Usual Suspects
- The larval stage of the Indianmeal moth produces frass (excrement) and webbing, and some beetle larvae produce secretions that give food a disagreeable odor and taste.
- Setae (hairs) from the warehouse beetle can irritate the mouth, throat, and stomach of people who eat infested products.
- In addition, pantry pests might introduce microbes into the food that could produce mycotoxins (highly carcinogenic compounds), especially if the food is stored in warm, humid conditions.
In The Prepper’s Cookbook, it was emphasized that insects are most likely to infest food products that have been opened but are also capable of penetrating unopened paper, thin cardboard, and plastic, foil, or cellophane-wrapped packages. They may chew their way into packages or crawl in through folds and seams. Insects within an infested package begin multiplying and can spread to other stored foods not only in the same area but in other rooms in a home. All stages (egg, larva, pupa, and adult) may be present simultaneously in infested products. Source
That said, there are times that even though all precautions are taken at preserving your food supply, sometimes bug infestations happen. Here are some ways to reuse food that has been infested.
A Bold New Approach to Feeding Livestock
While infested food may be less palatable in certain circumstances, some dry goods can be fed to livestock. Dry grains and cereals are already given to chickens, goats, pigs and cattle as a nutritional supplement. As well, many animals naturally gravitate to ingesting bugs. Goats, chickens, pigs and even cows.
Infested dry beans can also be incorporated into livestock’s diet. Edible beans (e.g. navy, pinto, kidney) that are shrunken, broken and/or discolored will not make the grade for human consumption and may make their way into cattle rations for added protein. In an article on the subject, researchers believe that certain bug infested grains and foods can be fed to livestock for added nutrition.