Saturday, March 28, 2009

there are bugs in my dessert!

02.25.09. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the governing body charged with, among other things, preventing contamination in the food that we eat. Many times, however, the amounts of contaminants that they allow in foods is surprisingly high (the often stomach-churning data are available freely on the FDA's website here). For example, the FDA allows 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter and 75 insect fragments per 50 grams of cocoa powder before recalling these foods. Students used ratios and proportions to calculate from these data the allowed number of insect fragments in a Reese's peanut butter cup. Only after obtaining their result were they permitted to (not without trepidation) enjoy their treat. (For those interested, a peanut butter cup can contain roughly 30 insect fragments before the FDA deems it unfit to eat--not to mention a few rodent hairs...)