Monday, January 5, 2015

Why Are There Bugs In My Pistachios?

Hello and Happy New Year! This is actually a very exciting post for me, not because I get to gross you out with the maggot-looking things I found in my pistachios, but because this post marks the fifth consecutive year of Greg's Gourmet! Launched in January of 2011, "The Gourmet" as it was classified, became my playground not just for Internet experimentation but for documenting all of my eating exploits for the world to see. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and now 2015. That's kinda cool to think about. But if you're reading this post then you probably don't care about that because most likely you've just found something in your pistachio that looks eerily similar to this:

I think I once witnessed Bear Grylls down something that looked similar to this in an episode of Man vs. Wild what the hell is this? I was enjoying a bag of Wonderful Pistachios when I cracked open this bad boy and found these guys nested inside. Initially I just thought the nut had splintered but upon further review I noticed that a family of maggot look-alikes had decided to set up camp inside my pistachio. The million dollar question: What are these things and what should you do? 

They're called Navel Orangeworms and they're probably as gross as their name suggests. If they survive to adulthood then they become moths, but they're generally known for being pains in the asses for a number of crops in the Southwestern United States, including the Pistacia vera, AKA the Pistachio Plant. Basically they rent out space in the shells of the fruit and while Wonderful can do all they can to get us a clean product, there's no 100% way to ever get a fruit or vegetable into stores without the possibility of something living in it. That's just the way of things. 

Naturally people are in an outrage and there's even a petition out there demanding that Wonderful include on their label a warning that bugs may be found in the bags of their product. As you can see, the customer service representative identifies the larvae and I think it would have been good business to offer a free bag since, you know, no one wants to find bugs in their snack foods, but I digress. I've thought a lot about this and the reality is there's nothing Wonderful can do. It grows out of the ground and bugs make it their home. That's what happens. That's why you may at some point find an apple with a worm or a head of cabbage with a caterpillar. Do you really expect said company to put a label on every head of lettuce to identify the possibility that there may be a small caterpillar in it? It's just not logical. I mean, did you know that every time you eat a piece of chocolate you're also eating small pieces of insects that found their way onto the production line? Shit happens, ya know? 

Will I still eat these pistachios? Yeah, probably. The nut in question actually stood out from the others because it was burned. Whether or not that had something to do with the orangeworm I do not know. 

Besides, it's all protein anyway.