A video, which has been widely shared on social media, was claimed to show that bugs come out of strawberries when they are soaked in salt water. One of them just got almost 6.000 likes. The same claim was reported on various websites.
Over the past few weeks, TikTok users launched a trend called #strawberrybugs in the USA. The users recorded the small insects that came out of the strawberries by soaking strawberries in the salt water. Some did not like it, while others found it very normal.
A video in this trend got popular in Turkey. However, TikTok user who shared the video explained that this video, in which there are very large bugs in size, does not reflect the truth. After throwing the strawberries into the salt water, the user added the insects she had taken out of her garden to the bowl and made it look like it was coming out of the strawberry. She said she didn’t think the video would be watched by so many people, and it was very clear that it was a fake. So, to make fun of the #strawberrybugs trend, she added a bigger bug to the bowl later on and made a fictional video.
Besides, when the video is watched, we see that the recording is not uninterrupted. From the 16th second, there are skips in the video and the recording seems to be frequently paused. The bug was added in moments of interruption.
The videos which are popular in Turkey were created by combining several videos. The big bug video in this video collage is not real. Some users who tried this trend in Turkey saw that large insects did not come through the strawberry. But it is, of course, common for small insects to live in them.
Since fruits and vegetables grow in the soil, small insects and larvae can sometimes come out of fruits and vegetables. “Even if you do not like having small organisms on your fruit, it doesn’t do any harm to your health. Eating these little insects will not make you sick,” said Entomologist Greg Loeb at Cornell University. Similarly, Prof. Dr. Bulent Nazli, the faculty member of İstanbul Sabahattin Zaim University, states that we do not need to fear insects out of strawberry and says that this is part of the cycle of nature. This has no harm to health. However, fruits and vegetables must be washed with plenty of water before eating in order to protect against not only insects but also harmful pesticides and bacteria.
There are certain restrictions for insects living on vegetables and fruits that are engaged in agricultural activities. For example, according to the handbook issued by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is normal that 13 insect heads come out of 100 milliliters of fig paste. We can see 400 insect pieces in 50 grams of cinnamon, and a larva in 500 grams of canned tomatoes.
In conclusion, the claim is not true. In the video, large insects claimed to come out of the strawberry were thrown into the water afterward. However, it is normal for small insects to come out of the fruit. The post in question is an example of a false connection.
TikTok, Strawberry Bugs Trend
TikTok, Fake strawberry video, 20 May 2020
TikTok, The user sharing the video states that the video is fake, 23 May 2020
Demirören News Agency, Food Engineer warned! “It is not risky for health.”, 26 May 2020
USA Food and Drug Administration, Food Defect Levels Handbook
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Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar