I’m a food writer, and I write about all kinds of food: Mexican, Thai, even Italian. But the most interesting thing I’ve ever written about is maggots.
Maggots are an essential part of our food chain, but they’re often vilified and misunderstood. I want to share with you some of the myths and facts about this misunderstood creature.
You may think that maggots are disgusting, but they’re actually fascinating creatures. They have a complex life cycle that involves eating rotting meat, transforming into flies, mating, laying eggs… and then doing it all over again! It’s incredible how these little creatures can accomplish so much in just a few days.
You may also think that maggots are gross because they’re worms—and who wants worms in their food? But there’s nothing more natural than eating something that was once alive—and maggots are just as much part of nature as the plants we eat or the animals we raise for meat!
Finally—and maybe most importantly—you may think that maggots should be banned from our food supply because they’re unsanitary or unsafe for consumption (or both). Well…
Food With Maggots
A person may accidentally ingest maggots if they eat spoiled food that has become contaminated with fly larvae. Accidentally eating maggots is generally not a cause for concern, but it can sometimes lead to health complications, such as bacterial poisoning.
A maggot is the larva of the common housefly. Maggots are around 3–12 millimeters in length, have no legs, and are white or cream.
An adult female housefly can lay up to 130 eggsTrusted Source at a time, and each one of these will develop into a single larva. Flies lay their eggs in decaying organic matter, such as spoiled food and animal waste, which serves as food for the developing larvae.
In this article, we explore some of the potential health effects of eating maggots and explain what to do and when to see a doctor after accidentally ingesting them. We also discuss whether people eat maggots intentionally and if it is safe to do so.
Flies can visit multiple food sources throughout the day, and they may carry harmful bacteria that they have picked up from human or animal waste. They can transmit these bacteria to foods that people eat.
Larvae that develop in the contaminated food can ingest these bacteriaTrusted Source. People who eat this contaminated food or the larvae will also get exposure to the bacteria and may become unwell.
Salmonella and Escherichia coli are examples of bacteria that flies and maggots may transmit to humans.
Salmonella is one of the most common causes of foodborne illness. Symptoms of Salmonella infection can includeTrusted Source:
- abdominal cramps
- nausea and vomiting
Symptoms typically begin between 12 and 72 hoursTrusted Source after a person ingests the bacteria, and the illness usually lasts for 4 to 7 daysTrusted Source.
People with Salmonella poisoning often get better without treatment. However, frequent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration and, sometimes, hospitalization. It is, therefore, important for people with Salmonella poisoning to drink plenty of liquid, including clear broths and fruit juices, to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
E. coli poisoning
There are many different strainsTrusted Source of E. coli. Although most strains are harmless, some can cause a person to become very sick.
Symptoms of E. coli infection may includeTrusted Source:
- stomach cramps
- diarrhea, which may contain blood
- slight fever, usually less than 101°F
These symptoms usually develop between 1 and 10 daysTrusted Source after ingesting the bacteria and may last for 5–7 daysTrusted Source.
An E. coli infection can range in severity from very mild to severe, and it can sometimes even be life-threatening. As with Salmonella poisoning, it is essential for people to drink plenty of liquid to prevent dehydration.
MyiasisTrusted Source occurs when a person becomes infested with fly larvae. The larvae live on or inside the person and survive by feeding off their tissues.
Intestinal myiasis is a type of myiasis that can occur when a person ingests larvae that survive inside the gastrointestinal tract. Some people with intestinal myiasis do not experience any symptoms and may only realize that they have an infestation after noticing larvae in their stools.
However, symptoms of intestinal myiasis can include:
- abdominal pain
- nausea and vomiting
- itching in the anus
- bleeding from the rectum
Myiasis is not commonTrusted Source in the United States and mainly tends to occur in tropical and subtropical countries, including some of those in Africa and South America. However, people can get myiasis from traveling to these countries.
What to do
Accidentally ingesting maggots does not generally cause any lasting harm. However, if a person has ingested maggots through eating spoiled food, they may be at risk of food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning can range from very mild to serious, and they can sometimes last for several days.
People with a higher risk of developing food poisoning includeTrusted Source:
- young children
- older adults
- those with weakened immune systems, such as people living with HIV or those undergoing an organ transplant
It is essential for people who develop severe vomiting and diarrhea from food poisoning to drink plenty of fluid to prevent dehydration.
When to see a doctor
A person should see a doctor if any of the following signs and symptoms occur after ingesting maggots:
- visible larvae in stools
- persistent abdominal pain
- symptoms of bacterial poisoning that worsen or do not get better
- diarrhea lasting more than 3 daysTrusted Source
- diarrhea and a fever of more than 102˚FTrusted Source
- bloody stools
- signs of dehydration
- severe or persistent vomiting
Do people eat maggots intentionally?
Many people in countries outside of Europe and North America eat insectsTrusted Source. Scientists estimate that there are close to 2,000 species of edible insect. As well as the insects themselves, the eggs and larvae of certain species are edible.
Casu marzu is a Sardinian cheese that contains thousands of maggots. In the early stages of cheese production, the cheesemaker removes the outer crust, which encourages flies to enter and lay their eggs. Over several months, the larvae eat the rotting cheese. Excrement from the larvae gives the cheese its unique, pungent flavor.
Due to the health risks of eating live maggots, the European Food Safety Authority have banned the sale of casu marzu. However, a small number of Sardinian farmers continue to make the cheese for personal consumption.
Is it safe to eat maggots?
Maggots are particularly high in protein and fat. As such, scientists are currently investigating the possibility of growing, harvesting, and processing black soldier fly maggots for human consumption.
Scientists have suggested heating, drying, and microwaving the larvae to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination. At present, however, there is no guaranteed risk-free way to consume maggots safely.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERKnowledge is power. Get our free daily newsletter.
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For most people living in milder climates, such as the U.S., accidentally ingesting maggots is unlikely to cause harm.
People may experience a temporary bout of food poisoning from eating either the contaminated maggots or the spoiled food containing them. However, most cases of food poisoning resolve without treatment after several days.
can maggots kill you
The answer is no. Eating maggots will not kill you, but eating a lot of them can make you sick.
The are maggots edible is a question that has been asked many times. Maggots are not considered to be safe for human consumption, but can you die from eating them?
Maggots ingested inadvertently do not usually cause long-term damage. If a person ingests maggots from rotten food, they may get food poisoning. Food poisoning symptoms may vary from minor to severe, and they can persist for many days in certain cases.
Can maggots kill you in this situation?
Meningitis and death may occur if the maggots reach the base of the brain. Ophthalmomyiasis is a frequent ophthalmomyiasis symptom of O. ovis infection. The maggots are generally killed by the low oxygen levels in the stomach, but some survive because their outer coats are resistant to digesting enzymes.
Will gastric acid also kill maggots? Any maggots will be killed by the stomach acid (they’re just proteien after all), and there should be no negative side effects. Because the old cereal may induce bowel fermentation, you may take a dosage of laxatives once to clear the colon.
Are maggots, on the other hand, hazardous to humans?
Bacterial poisoning may be caused by eating maggots or maggot-infested food. Most maggot-infested foods are unsafe to consume, particularly if the larvae have come into touch with excrement. Animal and human excrement are used by certain houseflies as breeding grounds. Both diseases may result in bloody stools and exhaustion.
When maggots die, how long do they take to die?
The Life Cycle of a Fly They are typically seen in this initial stage when they are 3-9 mm long and white in color (but they may grow to be 20 mm long). Ew!). Maggots may live for 3 to 5 days on a single meal. There are larval and pupal phases, and the eggs take from 14 to 36 days to develop into flies.
In dreams, the maggot represents negativity, excitement, or intimate connections. It shows our heightened sense of caution. Maggots in dreams symbolize the unpleasant elements of life. As a result, maggots are linked with suffering and finding a sense of purpose in life.
Why do maggots come out of nowhere?
Food and other garbage attract flies, which lay their eggs on the garbage and develop into maggots later. Only if flies can access to your trash will you have an issue with maggots. If flies land on your trash, they may lay eggs, which may develop into maggots in as little as 24 hours.
Is Vaseline effective against maggots?
The problem is easily cured by suffocating the maggots and lubricating the cavity in the skin with petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or liquid paraffin; they typically emerge or are easily expressed with finger pressure.
Is ketchup full of maggots?
Fruit flies and the maggots that feed on them. Tomato sauce is so appealing to fruit flies that they deposit their eggs in it. The FDA, on the other hand, sets a maximum of 15 fruit fly eggs and one or more maggots per 100 grams of sauce.
Is it possible for fly eggs to hatch in your stomach?
Intestinal myiasis is caused by ingesting fly eggs or larvae that have been previously deposited in food and surviving in the gastrointestinal system. Some infected individuals showed no symptoms, while others had stomach discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea (2,3). Before pupation, they go through three larval stages.
Do maggots reproduce?
Do maggots multiply on their own? Originally Answered: Do maggots multiply on their own? No. Maggots are flies’ juvenile stages (order Diptera). A maggot is incapable of laying eggs or producing progeny on its own.
When a maggot transforms into a fly, how long does it take?
Each stage may take anywhere from three days to eight weeks (in temperatures over 80 degrees Fahrenheit) (in cooler climates). The pupal stage follows the larval stage. The whitish, characterless maggot starts to take on the shape of an adult fly at this stage.
Is it possible for maggots to penetrate human skin?
When humans walk over dirt carrying fly eggs, they may penetrate the skin via their bare feet, or they can attach themselves to people’s clothing and burrow into their skin. Some flies lay their eggs in sloughing-off dead tissue when they lay their larvae on or near a lesion or sore.
Maggots enter inside coffins in a variety of ways.
A. Coffin flies receive their name from their proclivity for infiltrating enclosed spaces containing rotting materials, such as coffins. They will deposit their eggs on carcasses if given the chance, providing nourishment for their young as they grow into maggots and eventually adult flies.
Is it OK to consume maggots that have been cooked?
Maggots are not only edible, but they are also a traditional superfood. They’re also possibly the most repulsive bug you’ve ever seen. Many cultures have traditionally enjoyed maggots by allowing fish or flesh to get saturated with them and then eating the maggots uncooked.
What is the best way to get rid of maggots?
Lime, salt, or vinegar may be used to cover the maggots. If your trash bin has a maggot infestation, cover the maggots with lime, salt, or vinegar to destroy them. Cleaning your trash can with a vinegar and water mix may help avoid infestations in the future.
What is the appearance of a maggot?
The eggs of the common house fly resemble white rice grains. Maggots develop from the eggs within 24 hours after being deposited. These maggots, often known as fly larvae, resemble small light white worms. The larvae like rotting animal or plant materials, particularly if there is some feces in the mix.
What happens if you consume fly eggs by accident?
The majority of flies lay eggs, however others produce live maggots. What happens if I consume a fly’s egg by accident? If you consume a fly egg, nothing bad will happen to you. The flies’ egg will perish.
Is it okay to consume food that has been stung by a fly?
Because flies lack teeth, they consume by spitting and vomiting on their food. The longer a fly stays on your meal, the more likely it is to pick up dangerous germs, viruses, and parasites. If a fly falls on your meal and you swat it away immediately, the food is probably safe to consume.
What is a maggot’s life cycle?
In little over two weeks, it transforms from an egg to a larva, pupa, and finally a fly. The lifespan of the fly is about 30 days. A maggot is a worm-like larva that emerges from a fly’s egg and is whitish-transparent.
What happens if you consume the larvae of fruit flies?
Furthermore, when accidentally eaten by humans, their larvae, which grow in the rotting fruit they like to eat, may cause stomach discomfort or sickness. Contaminants may be transferred from their parents’ breeding location to fruits and vegetables by larvae.
Do maggots suffocate?
Maggots can survive in water, so don’t waste your time attempting to drown them. See the section below on ‘how to kill maggots’ if you’re attempting to drown them. Maggots have a short lifespan of 8-10 days.
How long do maggots last in the refrigerator?
A refrigerator is ideal for storing maggots. They’ll be content for up to a fortnight here (if you have bought them fresh). Their metabolism is slowed sufficiently by the cold that they are unable to transform into casters. Keep the cover on the fridge at all times to prevent wet maggots from escaping.
Maggots are not a pleasant sight to see, but they can live in your stomach. Yes, you can die from eating maggots. Reference: can maggots live in your stomach.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can maggots kill you?
Maggots are not known to kill humans, but they can cause an infection that leads to death.
Can maggots eat you alive?
Maggots are generally not capable of eating their prey alive. They must first weaken the prey, usually by consuming its flesh, before they can consume it.
How do you kill maggots in your body?
The best way to kill maggots in your body is to use a salt water solution.
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Kathleen R. Blake is a student who loves cooking and has been cooking since she was young. She likes to cook for her family, friends, and people she meets on the internet!