The Forensic Entomologists That Investigate Insect Contaminated Food

The Forensic Entomologists That Investigate Insect Contaminated Food

There have always been televised programs that portray the nature of police work, and this has been the case even when the popularity of television was in its infancy several decades ago. During recent years, however, television programs shifted to portraying the nature of forensic police work. There exists too many TV shows to name that follow this popular trend. The job of a forensic detective appears quite glamorous, but in reality, the field of forensics is not solely limited to crime solving. There exist many types of forensic science, one of which is known as forensic entomology. Within the field of forensic entomology there exists many subgroups. For example, stored-product forensic entomology is one of the lesser-known types of forensic entomology. Forensic entomologists working within this particular field focus on finding the source of insect-contaminated food products.

Sometimes, insects can contaminate commercial food products even after such food products have been packaged and stored. For instance, it is not uncommon to find moths within rice products that have already made it into our pantries, or beetles infesting packaged cereal products within a warehouse. When these infestations are brought to the public’s attention forensic entomologists are tasked with finding the source of the infestation in order to assign blame to the proper entities.

Sometimes moths can find their way into rice products because consumers failed to seal the product properly, or the proprietor could be to blame for not exercising the proper oversight. It is problematic scenarios like this that stored product forensic entomologists are responsible for solving. Or sometimes the insect infestation could have occurred as a result of improper handling during the shipping process. No matter the scenario, the job of these particular forensic entomologists always involves identifying the type of insect/s discovered within commercially available foodstuffs. Not only that, but these forensic entomologists are tasked with determining the life stage of any insects found within packaged food, as well as the habitat and eating habits that have been demonstrated by a particular insect found within packaged food. Finding the answer to such queries allows stored-product forensic entomologists to determine the source and reason behind these occasional food infestations.

Have you ever purchased a food product from a retailer only to discover that the product contained bugs? If you have, then what type of bugs were present within your packaged food?

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