Food inspection agencies in Canada and the U.S. have issued an alert warning that toxic beetles have been turning up in organic salads and in packages of leafy greens.
The beetle in question is known as the Iron Cross Blister beetle, which is a very distinctly colored insect. The bug has a bright red head and bright yellow markings on their wings, which are separated by a black cross. If you find this beetle in your food, you should handle it with caution, since it may release a chemical called “cantharidin,” which can cause blisters at the point of contact.
Farrah Hodgson called the press after her husband got sick soon after eating a bag of baby spinach. She believes his stomach problems were caused by the beetle she later found in the bag of vegetables that she’d bought from Sobey’s grocery store.
Sitings of the beetle were also reported in Toronto, Canada. Erin Cameron was making lunch when she spotted a bright yellow and red beetle in her vegetables.
“I took a scoop, just with my hands, of the lettuce, and put it into my bowl,” she recounted. “Right away I noticed there was a giant bug inside… and I kind of freaked out.”
Entomologists say the beetle is common in Arizona and California. While they say it probably wouldn’t be fatal if eaten, it would cause significant discomfort.
If you spot a black, yellow, and red beetle in your food, contact the Food and Drug Administration immediately.