Yes, There May Be Bugs in Strawberries — No, You Don't Need to Panic

The viral Tik Tok strawberry video, explained.

June 17, 2020
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Photo by: George/Getty Images

George/Getty Images

There's a really good chance that in between dalgona coffee and Tik Tok dances, you've seen the viral video of the strawberry and salt water hack. The video shows when washing strawberries in salt water, tiny little bugs come out of them. Before you freak out, here's the bottom line: Finding bugs in fresh produce isn’t anything new. Here’s a look at the whole story and why you should still be enjoying fresh fruits and veggies regularly.

Why Are There Bugs in Strawberries?

We went straight to the experts: strawberry farmers. The California Strawberry Commission, a commodity board that represents strawberry farmers, has this answer on their website. “Strawberries are hand-picked and packed in the field, directly into the 'clamshell' containers. Because of this, an occasional bug or worm is not unusual, and may find its way into a package and go undetected until the berries are ready for use. No one else handles or touches the berries again until opened by you.”

Store fresh strawberries in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 days. Do not wash strawberries or leave them out at room temperature until you’re ready to eat them. It’s always recommended to rinse fresh strawberries under cold, running water to remove any dirt, grit or small insects before eating.

Although this Tik Tok video was focused on strawberries, it should be noted that this can happen to any fresh fruits or vegetables since they are grown outdoors and it’s not unusual to see bugs outdoors, especially in soil.

What If You Eat a Bug?

There is a chance you will or even have eaten one of the bugs that's made its way into your produce. These bugs will not cause you to get sick.

You Should Still Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

According to the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans a staggering 10% of Americans meet the recommended daily amount of vegetables, while approximately 15% of Americans meet the recommended daily amount of fruit. The benefits of eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables, including fresh, have many health benefits which include heart health and help prevent some cancers. Strawberries contain many nutrients including folate, fiber, vitamin C, and potassium, plus strawberries only contain 7 grams of sugar per 1 cup (or 8 strawberries). These berries also provide important phytonutrients, like anthocyanins and other antioxidants which can help prevent cancer and other diseases.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

** Toby Amidor is a spokesperson for the California Strawberry Commission.

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