AUSTIN, TX -- Did you know that the FDA actually allows a certain amount of rodent hair and feces in some of your food? It is something an Austin woman is learning the hard way.
Pushing limits and building strength are themes in Amy Nappier's life. However, two weeks ago this fitness fanatic says something happened that no amount of weight training could have prepared her for.
"I'm surprised I didn't get in a car accident because it really freaked me out," Nappier said.
Ironically, it was something the size of a grain of rice that nearly brought this mom of three to her knees.
"When I took a bite without looking at it, I knew something was wrong."
She is talking about what she found inside this peanut butter Caramel Clif Bar. She bought it at a gas station on the drive to the gym.
"I'm watching the road so I was not looking at what I was biting into," Nappier said. "I took a bite of the cliff bar and I took a couple of bites, and I just knew the texture, like something was not right."
Amy says she discovered something far more organic than she ever bargained for in her protein bar.
"We are talking the whole bar crawling with worms and moths and eggs," Nappier said. "I couldn't believe it was in my mouth and I was actually chewing on it."
She said she immediately sealed up these creepy crawlers and contacted the Clif Bar company.
"What they did say in the email is ‘Sorry...we know what kind of moth this is ...an Indian meal moth and it can get in bar through microscopic pores in the bag.'"
Bob Sprague is an entomology expert with 30 years experience. As a legal consultant and expert witness in the urban pest control field, he says the company's response is not consistent with what he's seen. He says the idea that the maggots got into a protein bar after it was packaged, is far-fetched.
"They lay the eggs, they feed off the food, but I have never heard of a moth laying an egg on top of the packaging and they eating through it," Sprague said.
A spokesperson for Clif Bar told FOX 7:
"We're truly sorry for Ms. Nappier's discovery and for her discomfort, and thankful that she brought this to our attention. We keep our bakeries scrupulously clean and the information that she provided is helpful when researching the problem in the distribution system."
FOX 7 also contacted the Food and Drug Administration about this story. The agency says it cannot address this specific story, but a spokesperson says, "The presence of live insects/maggots/worms etc. in a product is not acceptable."
However, you may not know that the agency has set certain defect levels for foods, including those that are packaged.
The reason? The agency says, "it is economically impractical to grow, harvest or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects."
So, what is acceptable and what's not?
Take canned mushrooms for example. The FDA's limit is 20 or more maggots per can. As for chocolate, the FDA says there can be no more than three rodent hairs in a sample about the size of three average sized candy bars.
"Disbelief, I have never had anything in my mouth food-wise, that was crawling," Nappier said.
Amy says this situation has really changed the way she looks at food.
"You need to be aware of what you are putting into your mouth and something that is completely sealed and not past the date can have insects in it and worms and insects and eggs."
The FDA stresses that no amount of defective food is considered "good." However, the agency says it is a part of life and something it tries to keep to a minimum.