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Foods -- Breads and Grains

How is flour treated to get rid of bugs?

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Flour, mixes, cereal, spices, and dried fruit are susceptible to infestation with beetles, weevils and moths even in the cleanest kitchen. The bugs enter in products that were contaminated before you brought them home. While beetles such as the flour beetle, meal worm, and grain weevils make the product unappealing, they are not harmful. Sift them out of flour or mixes that are only slightly contaminated. If the product is riddled with the beetles, discard it. Moths leave a grayish silky mat on the food product. To get rid of the infestation, remove all foods from the infected area and wash the area thoroughly. You may apply an approved pesticide for use in food areas in the cracks and crevices that you cannot reach to clean. Since larvae may be present in other packages in the infected area, freeze all products at 0 degree F. for up to one week to kill any beetles and larvae. Store foods in tightly closed containers to keep the food source away from any remaining beetles. Use glass, plastic and metal containers with tight fitting lids. Buy spices in bottles instead of metal containers with flip top closures. Other insects, like cockroaches, can carry dangerous microorganisms and disease so discard products infested with these. Check with a pest control company for instructions on how to rid yourselves of these pests.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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