Monday, January 14, 2013

Onion Powder Surprise

A little story for your Monday enjoyment: This morning I was cooking, and I pulled my trusty onion powder from the spice shelf. I bought it six months ago or so, and I expected it to be fine, since it came from the supermarket, packaged and plastic-wrapped. (It was Kotanyi granül soğan, FYI.) So you can imagine my surprise when I pulled off the top to discover that inside this little bottle were two caterpillars (and a thick cocoon) at the top. WTF?!? How does this happen?!?

I guess they managed to wriggle in at the factory -- or maybe the eggs were on the onions and somehow survived the journey into powder? And then they hatched/lived in this bottle of onion powder for six months or more? And when I used the onion powder before, on other occasions, we probably ingested their friends?

I'm more than a little grossed out thinking about how this situation possibly came to be. Especially after I read on Wikipedia that caterpillar hair can cause health problems ranging from "urticarial dermatitis and atopic asthma to osteochondritis, consumption coagulopathy, renal failure, and intracerebral hemorrhage." I don't even know what half those things are. Oh, and caterpillar hair can even cause death.

It brought to mind that Internet forward that was going around a few years ago that warned against drinking directly from aluminum cans, saying that the cans are usually stored for a period of time in warehouses where mice and rats have the opportunity to defecate on them, leading to you, the drinker, getting a fatal disease. I've just learned from Snopes that this tale is mostly not true (apparently the pee of a healthy rat is safe to drink!), but after finding caterpillars in your onion powder, it really makes you think.

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