When Should You Freak Out About Critters In Your Food?

One frequent comment on posts such as Saturday’s ““This Weight Watchers Meal Includes A Free Frozen Frog” is that Americans are too far removed from where our food really comes from, and it’s unreasonable to expect that our food be 100% critter-free. Is it?

Alex wondered in an e-mail to Consumerist:

I was just wondering. Is it appropriate to freak out about bugs in fresh cut fruits and vegetables? I work at a grocery store and a customer came in and started freaking out over a small bug in her fruit salad. The fruit salad was $4.75 and we gave her something that was double the value for free. I’m just curious though – isn’t it kind of part of the risk you take when eating fresh fruits and veggies? The ingredients do originate where bugs also originate, and while we do try our best, sometimes they slip through and make it into the product as we’re cutting.

When I prepare fresh fruit or vegetables at home, I’m aware that the ingredients might contain bugs, worms, or even fecal material. So I wash it. Was it reasonable for a customer to hold a store’s packaged food to a higher standard than she might hold its produce?