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It is important that you know the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency that regulates our food, drugs and medicalMIP - FDA mold food devices in the United States, allows a certain amount of contaminants in our food such as insect and animal parts, maggots, poop and even toxic mold.

The father of medicine, Hippocrates of Kos who once said, “Let thy food by thy medicine,” would be rolling in his grave if he were to witness what we consume and allow in our food today.

Since this website is dedicated to educating people about mold, I thought I would share with you some of the levels of mold that are allowed in the food we eat and feed our families. Please keep in mind that the term mold used by the FDA is a generic term to cover any molds, and some of these molds can be very dangerous to your health. In fact, some molds can cause cancer over time and kill you.

It is important that the people who have been affected by mold or are ill from mold exposure pay close attention to the food they eat. We now know based on these FDA guidelines that mold is allowed in our food and that we can be eating contaminated food at almost any meal unbeknownst to us.

I think that if all possible, now more than ever, we should do our best to buy locally grown organic food. Purchase it direct from farmers that we know and can look in their eyes so we can actually tour their farms and see how they grow and or process food to make sure it is mold safe.

For example, in the FDA chart below, growers of shelled peanuts are allowed to have an average of 5% or more kernels by count are rejects (insect-infested, moldy, rancid, otherwise decomposed, and dirty). Unshelled peanuts can have an average of 10% or more peanuts by count are rejects (insect- infested, moldy, rancid, otherwise decomposed, and dirty).

Tomatoes, canned packed in tomato puree (Based on Drained Liquid) can have an average mold count in 6 subsamples is 29% or more and the counts of all of the subsamples are more than 25%

Drupelet, canned and frozen blackberries, raspberries, etc. can have a mold count of 60%. Citrus fruit juices, canned etc. can have a 10% mold count. Peaches, canned and frozen can have on average of 3% or more fruit by count are wormy or moldy. Raisins are allowed to have an average of 10 subsamples is 5% or more, by count, moldy raisins.

This is just the tip of the rat poop covered moldy iceberg folks!

Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 110.110 allows the FDA to establish maximum levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods for human use that present no health hazard.

According to the FDA, the agency “set these action levels because it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects. Products harmful to consumers are subject to regulatory action whether or not they exceed the action levels.

It is incorrect to assume that because the FDA has an established defect action level for a food commodity, the food manufacturer need only stay just below that level. The defect levels do not represent an average of the defects that occur in any of the products–the averages are actually much lower. The levels represent limits at which FDA will regard the food product “adulterated”; and subject to enforcement action under Section 402(a)(3) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act.”

MILDEW 

Refers to downy mildew which is a fungus infection that causes yellow-brown spots on the leaves of edible greens in the mustard family.

MOLD COUNT

Refers to the results of the Howard mold count method which is reported as the percentage of positive microscopic fields that have been scored as either positive or negative based on the presence or absence of a minimum amount of mold hyphae. Performed only on comminuted fruits and vegetables, and some ground spices. The source of the mold hyphae is rotten raw material that is processed along with sound raw material but is no longer visible due to the comminution process.

MOLDY 

Evidenced by the presence of mold (mold hyphae and/or spore forming structures) that are visible to the unaided eye. Microscopic examination may be used to confirm the presence of characteristic hyphal filaments and fruiting structures.

Here is the full chart from the FDA.

COMMODITIES AND DEFECT ACTION LEVELS  

PRODUCT DEFECT
(Method)
ACTION LEVEL
Allspice, Ground Insect Filth
(AOAC 981.21)
Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 981.21)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE: Insect fragments – pre/post harvest and processing insect infestation. Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Allspice, Whole Mold
(MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more berries by weight are moldy
DEFECT SOURCE: : Preharvest and/or post harvest infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Apple Butter Mold
(AOAC 975.51)
Average of mold count is 12% or more
Rodent filth
(AOAC 945.76)
Average of 4 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams of apple butter
Insects
(AOAC 945.76)
Average of 5 or more whole or equivalent insects (not counting mites, aphids, thrips, or scale insects) per 100 grams of apple butter
DEFECT SOURCE: Mold – post harvest infection. Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair. Whole or equivalent insects – preharvest, and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation,
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Apricots, Canned Insect filth
(MPM-V51)
Average of 2% or more by count has been damaged or infected by insects
DEFECT SOURCE: Pre-harvest insect infestation
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Asparagus, Canned or Frozen Insect filth
(MPM-V93)
10% by count of spears or pieces are infested with 6 or more attached asparagus beetle eggs and/or sacs
Insects
(MPM-V93 )
Asparagus contains an average of 40 or more thrips per 100 grams
OR
Insects (whole or equivalent) of 3mm or longer have an average aggregate length of 7mm or longer per 100 grams of asparagus
DEFECT SOURCE: Pre-harvest insect infestation
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Bay (Laurel) Leaves Mold
(MPM-V32 )  *
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are moldy
Insect filth
(MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested
Mammalian excreta
(MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound after processing
DEFECT SOURCE: Mold – preharvest infection. Insect infestation – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation. Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Beets, Canned Rot Average of 5% or more pieces by weight with dry rot
DEFECT SOURCE: Preharvest mold infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Berries: Drupelet, Canned and Frozen (blackberries, raspberries, etc.) Mold
(AOAC 955.47)
Average mold count is 60% or more
Insects and larvae
(AOAC 981.20)
Average of 4 or more larvae per 500 grams
OR
Average of 10 or more whole insects or equivalent per 500 grams (excluding thrips, aphids and mites)
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects and larvae – preharvest insect infestation. Mold – post harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Berries: Lingon, Canned (European cranberry) Insect larvae
( MPM-V64)
Average of 3 or more larvae per pound in a minimum of 12 subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects-pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Berries: Multer, Canned Insects
( MPM-V64)
Average of 40 or more thrips per No.2 can in all subsamples and 20% of subsamples are materially infested
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects-pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Broccoli, Frozen Insects and mites
(AOAC 945.82)
Average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Brussels Sprouts, Frozen Insects
( MPM-V95)
Average of 30 or more aphids and/or thrips per 100 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Capsicum Pods Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of more than 3% of pods by weight are insect-infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of more than 1mg mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest insect infestation. Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – mold may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Ground Capsicum (excluding paprika) Mold
(AOAC 945.94)
Average mold count is more than 20%
Insect filth
(AOAC 978.22)
Average of more than 50 insect fragments per 25 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 978.22)
Average of more than 6 rodent hairs per 25 grams
DEFECT SOURCE: Mold – pre-harvest and/or post harvest mold infection. Insect fragments – pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation. Rodent hair – pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta 
Significance: Aesthetic, Mold may contain mycotoxin producing fungi 
Ground Paprika Mold
(AOAC 945.94)
Average mold count is more than 20%
Insect filth
(AOAC 977.25B)
Average of more than 75 insect fragments per 25 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 977.25B)
Average of more than 11 rodent hairs per 25 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – pre and/or post harvest mold infection. Insect fragments – pre and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation. Rodent hair – pre and/or post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta 
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – mold may contain mycotoxin producing fungi 
Cassia (or) Cinnamon Bark, Whole Mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are moldy
Insect filth
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – post harvest mold infection. Insect infestation – post harvest and/or processing. Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination.
Significance: Aesthetic
Cinnamon, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 968.38b)
Average of 400 or more insect fragments per 50 gram
Rodent filth
(AOAC 968.38b)
Average of 11 or more rodent hairs per 50 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation. Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Cherries: Brined and Maraschino Insect filth
( MPM-V48)
Average of 5% or more pieces are rejects due to maggots
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Cherries: Fresh, Canned, or Frozen Rot
( MPM-V48)
Average of 7% or more pieces are rejects due to rot
Insect filth
( MPM-V48)
Average of 4% or more pieces are rejects due to insects other than maggots
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect reject – Pre-harvest and/or post harvest insect infestation, Rot reject – pre-harvest mold infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Cherry Jam Mold
( MPM-V61)
Average mold count is 30% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest mold infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Chocolate and Chocolate Liquor Insect filth
(AOAC 965.38)
Average is 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams when 6 100-gram subsamples are examined
OR
Any 1 subsample contains 90 or more insect fragments
Rodent filth
(AOAC 965.38)
Average is 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams in 6 100-gram subsamples examined
OR
Any 1 subsample contains 3 or more rodent hairs
Shell
(AOAC 968.10-970.23)
For chocolate liquor, if the shell is in excess of 2% calculated on the basis of alkali-free nibs
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta, Shell – processing contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Citrus Fruit Juices, Canned Mold
(AOAC 970.75)
Average mold count is 10% or more
Insects and insect eggs
(AOAC 970.72)
5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – processing contamination, Fly eggs and/or maggots – post harvest insect infestation 
Significance: Aesthetic
Cloves Stems
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more stems by weight
DEFECT SOURCE:  Harvest
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic, economic adulteration
Cocoa Beans Mold
( MPM-V18)
More than 4% of beans by count are moldy
Insect filth
( MPM-V18)
More than 4% of beans by count are insect-infested including insect-damaged
Insect filth and/or mold More than 6% of beans by count are insect-infested or moldy
NOTE: Level differs when both filth and mold are present
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V18)
Average of 10 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE: Mold – post harvest infection, Insect infested/damaged – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Cocoa Powder Press Cake Insect filth
(AOAC 965.38)
Average of 75 or more insect fragments per subsample of 50 grams when 6 subsamples are examined
OR
Any 1 subsample contains 125 or more insect fragments
Rodent filth
(AOAC 965.38)
Average in 6 or more subsamples is 2 or more rodent hairs per subsample of 50 grams
OR
Any 1 subsample contains 4 or more rodent hairs
Shell
(AOAC 968.10-970.23)
2% or more shell calculated on the basis of alkali-free nibs.
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta, Shell – processing contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Coffee Beans, Graded Green Grade defects
( MPM-V6)
Beans are poorer than Grade 8 of the New York Green Coffee Association
DEFECT SOURCE:   Quality – processing
Significance: Aesthetic, economic adulteration
Coffee Beans, Green Insect filth and insects
( MPM-V1)
Average 10% or more by count are insect-infested or insect-damaged
Note:
If live external infestation is present use the Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) titled ” Food Storage and Warehousing-Adulteration-Filth” (CPG 580.100) in accordance with“Interpretation of Insect Filth” (CPG 555.600)
Mold
( MPM-V1)
Average of 10% or more beans by count are moldy
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested/damaged – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – mold may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Condimental Seeds Other than Fennel Seeds and Sesame Seeds Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 3 mg or more of mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Corn: Sweet Corn, Canned Insect larvae
(AOAC 973.61)
Insect larvae (corn ear worms, corn borers) 2 or more 3mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments of corn ear worms or corn borer and the aggregate length of such larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds (24 No. 303 cans or equivalent)
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Corn Husks for Tamales Insect filth
( MPM-V115)
Average of 5 % or more husks by weight are insect-infested (including insect-damaged)
Mold
( MPM-V115)
Average of 5% or more husks by weight are moldy
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or processing insect infestation, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Cornmeal Insects
(AOAC 981.19)
Average of 1 or more whole insects (or equivalent) per 50 grams
Insect filth
(AOAC 981.19)
Average of 25 or more insect fragments per 25 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 981.19)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 25 grams
OR
Average of 1 or more rodent excreta fragment per 50 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects and insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair and excreta fragments – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Cranberry Sauce Mold
(AOAC 970.76)
Average mold count is more than 15%
OR
The mold count of any 1 subsample is more than 50%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Cumin Seed Sand and grit
(AOAC 975.48)
Average of 9.5% or more ash and/or 1.5% or more acid insoluble ash
DEFECT SOURCE:  Harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Currant Jam, Black Mold
( MPM-V61)
Average mold count is 75% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Currants Insect filth
( MPM-V53)
5% or more, by count, wormy in the average of the subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Curry Powder Insect filth
(AOAC 975.48)
Average of 100 or more insect fragments per 25 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 975.48)
Average of 4 or more rodent hairs per 25 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Date Material (Chopped, Sliced, (or) Macerated) Insects
( MPM-V53)
10 or more dead insects (whole or equivalent) in 1 or more subsamples
OR
5 or more dead insects (whole or equivalent) per 100 grams
Pits
( MPM-V53)
2 or more pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer measured in the longest dimension per 900 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Pits – processing
SIGNIFICANCE: Insects – Aesthetic, Pits – mouth/tooth injury
Dates, Pitted Multiple
( MPM-V53)
Average of 5% or more dates by count are rejects (moldy, dead insects, insect excreta, sour, dirty, and/or worthless) as determined by macroscopic sequential examination
Pits
( MPM-V53)
Average of 2 or more pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer in the longest dimension per 100 dates
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects, insect excreta, & mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Sour & worthless – preharvest, Dirt – harvest contamination, Pits – processing
Significance: Insects, insect excreta, mold, sour & worthless, dirt – Aesthetic, Pits – mouth/tooth injury
Dates, Whole Multiple
( MPM-V53)
Average of 5% or more dates by count are rejects (moldy, dead insects, insect excreta, sour, dirty, and/or worthless) as determined by macroscopic sequential examination
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects, insect excreta, & mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Sour & worthless – preharvest, Dirt – harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Eggs and Other Egg Products, Frozen Decomposition
(AOAC 939.14, 940.36, 940.37)
2 or more cans decomposed and at least 2 subsamples from decomposed cans have direct microscopic counts of 5 million or more bacteria per gram
DEFECT SOURCE:  Processing (incubator rejects)
Significance: Economic
Fennel Seed Insects
( MPM-V32)
20% or more of subsamples contain insects
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
20% or more of subsamples contain mammalian excreta
OR
average of more than 3 mg of mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insects – preharvest and/or post harvest insect infestation, Excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Fig Paste Insects
(AOAC 964.23)
Contains 13 or more insect heads per 100 grams of fig paste in each of 2 or more subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Figs Insect filth and/or mold and/or dirty fruit or pieces of fruit
( MPM-V53)
Average of 10% or more by count are insect-infested and/or moldy and/or dirty fruit or pieces of fruit
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – Pre-harvest and/or post harvest infestation, Moldy – preharvest infection. Dirt – harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Tullibees, Ciscoes, Inconnus, Chubs, and Whitefish Parasites (cysts)
( MPM-V28)
50 parasitic cysts per 100 pounds (whole or fillets), provided that 20% of the fish examined are infested
DEFECT SOURCE: Pre-harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Blue Fin and other Fresh Water Herring Parasites (cysts)
( MPM-V28)
60 parasitic cysts per 100 fish (fish averaging 1 pound or less) or 100 pounds of fish averaging over 1 pound), provided that 20% of the fish examined are infested
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Red Fish and Ocean Perch Parasites (copepods)
( MPM-V28)
3 % of the fillets examined contain 1 or more copepods accompanied by pus pockets
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Ginger, Whole Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 3% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 3 mg or more of mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infestation – post harvest and/or processing, Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Greens, Canned Mildew
(AOAC 967.23)
Average of 10% or more of leaves, by count or weight, showing mildew over 1/2″ in diameter
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Hops Insects
(AOAC 967.23)
Average of more than 2,500 aphids per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Macaroni and Noodle Products Insect filth
(AOAC 969.41)
Average of 225 insect fragments or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
Rodent filth
(AOAC 969.41)
Average of 4.5 rodent hairs or more per 225 grams in 6 or more subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation. Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Mace Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 3% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 3 mg or more of mammalian excreta per pound
Foreign matter
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1.5% or more of foreign matter through a 20-mesh sieve
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infestation – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing. Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination, Foreign matter – post harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Marjoram, Whole Plant, Unprocessed Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infestation – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Marjoram, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 1175 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 8 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Marjoram, Unground Insect filth
(AOAC 985.39)
Average of 250 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 985.39)
Average of 2 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Mushrooms, Canned and Dried Insects
(AOAC 967.24)
Average of over 20 or more maggots of any size per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms
OR
Average of 5 or more maggots 2 mm or longer per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms
Mites
(AOAC 967.24)
Average of 75 mites per 100 grams drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms
Decomposition
( MPM-V100)
Average of more than 10% of mushrooms are decomposed
DEFECT SOURCE: Insects – preharvest insect infestation, Mites – preharvest and/or post harvest infestation, Decomposition – preharvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Nectars, Apricot, Peach and Pear Mold Average mold count is 12% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Nutmeg, Whole Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V41)
Average of 10% or more pieces by count are insect-infested and/or moldy
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infestation – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Nutmeg, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 979.26)
Average of 100 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 979.26)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE: Insect fragments – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Nuts, Tree Multiple Defects
( MPM-V81)
Reject nuts (insect-infested, rancid, moldy, gummy, and shriveled or empty shells) as determined by macroscopic examination at or in excess of the following levels:
Nut Type Unshelled % Shelled %
Almonds 5 5
Brazils 10 5
Cashew 5
Green Chestnuts 15
Baked Chestnuts 10
Dried Chestnuts 5
Filberts 10 5
Lichee Nuts 5
Pecans 10 5
Pili Nuts 15 10
Pistachios 10 5
Walnuts 10 5
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection, Gummy & shriveled – preharvest physiological condition, Rancidity – post harvest
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Pitted olives Pits
( MPM-V67)
Average of 1.3 percent or more by count of olives with whole pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer measured in the longest dimension
DEFECT SOURCE:  Processing
Significance: Mouth/tooth injury
Imported Green olives Insect damage
( MPM-V67)
7% or more olives by count showing damage by olive fruit fly
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Salad olives Pits
( MPM-V67)
Average of 1.3 or more olives by count of olives with whole pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer measured in the longest dimension
Insect damage
( MPM-V67)
9% or more olives by weight showing damage by olive fruit fly
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pits – processing, Insect damage – preharvest insect infestation
SIGNIFICANCE: Pits – mouth/tooth injury, Insect damage – Aesthetic
Salt-cured olives Insects
( MPM-V67)
Average of 10% or more olives by count with 10 or more scale insects each
Mold
( MPM-V67)
Average of 25% or more olives by count are moldy
DEFECT SOURCE:  Scale insects – preharvest infestation, Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Imported Black olives Insect damage
( MPM-V67)
10% or more olives by count showing damage by olive fruit fly
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Oregano, Whole Plant, Unprocessed Insect filth and/or mold weight
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more insect infested and/or moldy pieces by weight
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing, Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Oregano, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 1250 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 5 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta 
Significance: Aesthetic
Oregano, Crushed Insect filth
(AOAC 969.44)
Average of 300 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 969.44)
Average of 2 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Peaches, Canned and Frozen Mold/Insect damage
( MPM-V51)
Average of 3% or more fruit by count are wormy or moldy
Insects
( MPM-V51)
In 12 1-pound cans or equivalent, one or more larvae and/or larval fragments whose aggregate length exceeds 5 mm
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest infection, Insect damage – preharvest insect infestation, Larvae – preharvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Peanut Butter Insect filth
(AOAC 968.35)
Average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 968.35)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams
Grit
(AOAC 968.35)
Gritty taste and water insoluble inorganic residue is more than 25 mg per 100 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta, Grit – harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Peanuts, Shelled Multiple defects
( MPM-V89)
Average of 5% or more kernels by count are rejects (insect-infested, moldy, rancid, otherwise decomposed, and dirty)
Insects
( MPM-V89)
Average of 20 or more whole insects or equivalent in 100-pound bag siftings
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – post harvest and/or processing infestation, Moldy – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection, Rancid & decomposed – post harvest abuse, Dirty – harvest contamination.
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Peanuts, Unshelled Multiple defects
( MPM-V89)
Average of 10% or more peanuts by count are rejects (insect- infested, moldy, rancid, otherwise decomposed, and dirty)
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – post harvest and/or processing infestation, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection, Rancid & decomposed – post harvest abuse
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – may contain mycotoxin producing fungi
Peas: Black-Eyed, Cowpeas, Field Peas, Dried Insect damage
( MPM-V104)
Average of 10% or more by count of class 6 damage or higher in minimum of 12 subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Peas, Black-Eyed Peas, Cowpeas, (Succulent), Canned Insect larvae
( MPM-V104)
Average of 5 or more cowpea curculio larvae or the equivalent per No. 2 can
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Peas and Beans, Dried Insect filth
( MPM-V104)
Average of 5% or more by count insect-infested and/or insect-damaged by storage insects in a minimum of 12 subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Pepper, Whole (Black & White) Insect filth and/or insect-mold
( MPM-V39)
Average of 1% or more pieces by weight are infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V39)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound
Foreign matter
( MPM-V39)
Average of 1% or more pickings and siftings by weight
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – post harvest and/or processing infestation, Moldy – post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination, Foreign material – post harvest contamination 
Significance: Aesthetic, Potential health hazard – mammalian excreta may contain salmonella
Pepper, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 972.40)
Average of 475 or more insect fragments per 50 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 972.40)
Average of 2 or more rodent hairs per 50 grams
DEFECT SOURCE: Insect fragments – post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Pineapple, Canned Mold
(AOAC 970.75, MPM-V73)
Average mold count is 20% or more
OR
The mold count of any 1 subsample is 60% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Processing mold contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Pineapple Juice Mold
(AOAC 970.75)
Average mold count is 15% or more
OR
The mold count of any 1 subsample is 40% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Processing mold contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Plums, Canned Rot
( MPM-V51)
Average of 5% or more plums by count with rot spots larger than the area of a circle 12 mm in diameter
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Popcorn Rodent filth
(AOAC 950.91)
1 or more rodent excreta pellets are found in 1 or more subsamples, and 1 or more rodent hairs are found in 2 or more other subsamples
OR
2 or more rodent hairs per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples
OR
20 or more gnawed grains per pound and rodent hair is found in 50% or more of the subsamples
Field corn 5% or more by weight of field corn
DEFECT SOURCE:  Rodent excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta, Rodent gnawing – post harvest and/or processing damage, Field corn – harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Potato Chips Rot
( MPM-V113)
Average of 6% or more pieces by weight contain rot
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Prunes Dried and Dehydrated, Low-Moisture Multiple defects
( MPM-V53)
Average of a minimum of 10 subsamples is 5% or more prunes by count are rejects (insect-infested, moldy or decomposed, dirty, and/or otherwise unfit )
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest infestation, Moldy & decomposed – preharvest infection, Dirty – harvest contamination, Otherwise unfit – preharvest condition 
Significance: Aesthetic
Prunes, Pitted Pits
( MPM-V53)
Average of 2% or more by count with whole pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer and 4 or more of 10 subsamples of pitted prunes have 2% or more by count with whole pits and/or pit fragments 2 mm or longer
DEFECT SOURCE:  Processing
Significance: Mouth/tooth injury 
Puree, Apricot, Peach and Pear Mold
(AOAC 982.33)
Average mold count is 12% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Raisins, Natural & Golden Mold
( MPM-V76)
Average of 10 subsamples is 5% or more, by count, moldy raisins
Sand and Grit
( MPM-V76)
Average of 40 mg or more of sand and grit per 100 grams of natural or golden bleached raisins
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection, Sand – post harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Raisins, Golden Insects and insect eggs
(AOAC 969.42 & MPM-V76)
10 or more whole or equivalent insects and 35 Drosophila eggs per 8 oz.
DEFECT SOURCE:  Post harvest and/or processing infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Sage, Whole Plant, Unprocessed Insect filth
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect infested
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more per pound after processing
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Sage, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 985.38)
Average of 200 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 985.38)
Average of 9 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Sauerkraut Insects
(AOAC 955.45)
Average of more than 50 thrips per 100 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Sesame Seeds Insect filth
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more seeds by weight are insect-infested or damaged
Mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more seeds by weight are decomposed
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5 mg or more mammalian excreta per found
Foreign matter
( MPM-V32)
Average of 0.5% or more foreign matter by weight
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Mold – preharvest infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination, Foreign matter – post processing and/or processing contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Spices, Leafy, Other Than Bay Leaves Insect filth and/or mold
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect-infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more of Mammalian excreta per pound after processing
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Spinach, Canned or Frozen Insects and mites
(AOAC 974.33)
Average of 50 or more aphids, thrips and/or mites per 100 grams
OR
2 or more 3 mm or longer larvae and/or larval fragments or spinach worms (caterpillars) whose aggregate length exceeds 12 mm are present in 24 pounds
OR
Leaf miners of any size average 8 or more per 100 grams or leaf miners 3 mm or longer average 4 or more per 100 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest infestation 
Significance: Aesthetic
Strawberries: Frozen Whole or Sliced Mold
(AOAC 952.22)
Average mold count of 45% or more and mold count of at least half of the subsamples is 55% or more
Grit Berries taste gritty
DEFECT SOURCE:  Mold – post harvest and/or processing infection, Grit – harvest contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Thyme, Whole Ploant, Unprocessed Insect filth
( MPM-V32)
Average of 5% or more pieces by weight are insect infested and/or moldy
Mammalian excreta
( MPM-V32)
Average of 1 mg or more mammalian excreta per pound after processing
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect infested – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection, Mammalian excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination
Significance: Aesthetic
Thyme, Ground Insect filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 925 or more insect fragments per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 2 or more rodent hairs per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Thyme, Unground, Processed Insect filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 325 insect fragments or more per 10 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 975.49)
Average of 2 rodent hairs or more per 10 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomatoes, Canned Drosophila fly
(AOAC 955.46)
Average of 10 or more fly eggs per 500 grams
OR
5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 500 grams
OR
2 or more maggots per 500 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomatoes, Canned, with (or) without Juice (Based on Drained Juice) Mold
(AOAC 945.90)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 15% or more and the counts of all of the subsamples are more than 12%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomatoes, Canned Packed in Tomato Puree (Based on Drained Liquid) Mold
(AOAC 945.90)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 29% or more and the counts of all of the subsamples are more than 25%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomato Juice Drosophila fly
(AOAC 955.46)
Average of 10 or more fly eggs per 100 grams
OR
5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 100 grams
OR
2 or more maggots per 100 grams, in a minimum of 12 subsamples
Mold
(AOAC 965.41)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 24% or more and the counts of all of the subsamples are more than 20%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Fly eggs & maggots – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Mold – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomato Paste, Pizza and other Sauces Drosophila fly
(AOAC 955.46)
Average of 30 or more fly eggs per 100 grams
OR
15 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 100 grams
OR
2 or more maggots per 100 grams in a minimum of 12 subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomato Puree Drosophila fly
(AOAC 955.46)
Average of 20 or more fly eggs per 100 grams
OR
10 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots per 100 grams
OR
2 or more maggots per 100 grams in a minimum of 12 subsamples
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation
Significance: Aesthetic
Tomato Paste (or) Puree Mold
(AOAC 965.41** )
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 45% or more and the mold counts of all of the subsamples are more than 40%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Pizza and Other Tomato Sauces Mold
(AOAC 945.92)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 34% or more and the counts of all of the subsamples are more than 30%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Tomato Sauce, Undiluted Mold
(AOAC 965.41)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 45% or more and the mold counts of all of the subsamples are more than 40%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Tomato Cstsup Mold
(AOAC 965.41)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 55% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Tomato Powder, Except Spray-Dried Mold
(AOAC 972.42)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 45% or more and the mold counts of all of the subsamples are mold than 40%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and /or processing infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Tomato Powder, Spray-Dried Mold
(AOAC 972.42)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 67% or more
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic
Tomato Soup and Tomato Prouducts Mold
(AOAC 945.91)
Average mold count in 6 subsamples is 45% or more and the mold counts of all of the subsamples are more than 40%
DEFECT SOURCE:  Pre-harvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infection
Significance: Aesthetic
Wheat Insect damage
( MPM-V15)
Average of 32 or more insect-damaged kernels per 100 grams
Rodent filth
( MPM-V15)
Average of 9 mg or more rodent excreta pellets and/or pellet fragments per kilogram
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect damage – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation, Excreta – post harvest and/or processing animal contamination.
Significance: Aesthetic
Wheat Flour Insect filth
(AOAC 972.32)
Average of 75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams
Rodent filth
(AOAC 972.32)
Average of 1 or more rodent hairs per 50 grams
DEFECT SOURCE:  Insect fragments – preharvest and/or post harvest and/or processing insect infestation, Rodent hair – post harvest and/or processing contamination with animal hair or excreta.
SIGNIFICANCE: Aesthetic

May 1995; Revised March 1997 and May 1998 by gcz;
*February 2005 – Source corrected from MPM-V92 to MPM-V32
**February 2005 – Source corrected from 955.46 to 965.41

Source: FDA Booklet