Read this before seasoning up your dinner tonight!
According to the Huff Post, insects can be found in the spices we all have in our kitchen, and some of the biggest culprits are pepper-based—
Jody M. Green, an entomologist at the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, told the site,
"The pepper family appears to contain the nutritional requirements necessary for multiple generations of stored product beetles to successfully sustain life."
That's not the say you won't find insects in other spices, including turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, and dry ginger, but they're "particularly fond of products derived from dried sweet peppers/chiles/red pepper products like red pepper flakes, paprika, chili powder, and cayenne," Green said.
The bugs most commonly found in spices (especially paprika and cayenne) are cigarette and drugstore beetles. Both are derived from the same family and have a reddish-brown color and a size similar to that of a sesame seed.
What may be even grosser than finding tiny beetles in your spices is finding what looks like tiny worms. The worms found in the spices are reportedly mostly in larva form; The cream-colored larva have three pairs of legs, an orange head, dense hairs, and "chewing mouthparts."
There are some steps you can take to at least end insects' "lifecycle to ensure they don't continue breeding."
Inspect the spice jar at the store.
Put your spices in the freezer for four days at a temperature of zero degrees Fahrenheit before sticking them in your spice rack.