Boll Weevils Found In School Lunch Noodles, Removed, Then Noodles Served

An Ohio school district sent a letter home to parents informing them that cafeteria staff had found boll weevils inside bags of dried eggs noodles that were to be served for lunch. The workers removed the weevils, boiled the noodles, and later served the noodles.

Minus the removing part, I think that was a rejected chapter from Matilda.

It’s not dangerous to consume boll weevils, which officials said got into the packages at the factory, but it sure isn’t what you want your property taxes going towards.

The boll weevils is a bug about six millimeters in length that usually feeds on cotton and flowers.

Ohio School: Bugs Found in Noodles Used in Lunches [Washington Post] (Thanks to Howard!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Gravitational Eddy says:

    MMMMMMM protein.
    no extra charge for you.

  2. Robofish says:

    Well as long as they did boil the noodles everything would be dead and cooked well. YAY PROTEIN

  3. Hotscot says:

    “Minus the removing part, I think that was a rejected chapter from Mathilda.”
    “but it sure isn’t what you want your property taxes going toward”

    Eh?? Sometimes these articles confuse me…

    • regenerator says:

      I believe Ben was referencing Roald Dahl’s spectacular book “Matilda.” Not sure why an errant “H” was added to the title.
      If this was the reference Ben was going for, though, he’s correct that it sounds like something “Cookie” would have been forced to serve the children, per the Trunchbull’s orders.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      Why are you confused? Mathilda = girl with abusive/neglectful creepy parents
      Property taxes, because no one ever calls it a school lunch tax, and schools do not generate their own money.

      Where did you think your property taxes were being used?

      • Mark says:

        >>Where did you think your property taxes were being used?

        To line the pockets of self serving politicians, their conies and the clients of lobbyists .

        • Red Cat Linux says:

          No, no, no. That’s campaign contributions and federal taxes. Local taxes are generally going to poorly managed underfunded programs, or pay for unnecessary overtime.

        • kmw2 says:

          I don’t think that the rabbits of politicians really suck up that much of the public’s money.

      • trentblase says:

        Well, it would cost taxpayer money to replace the noodles. But Ben seems to be saying that he DOESN’T want his property tax to pay for new noodles. If you think about it, the school had taxpayer interests in mind by salvaging the perfectly edible noodles, thus saving the budget.

        I, on the other hand, WOULD want my taxes to pay for fresh noodles.

    • Bella_dilo17 says:

      Matilda was a book and movie about neglectful parents and an abusive teacher.

      In the movie (I didn’t read the book), she puts a newt in her principal’s water.

  4. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    I for one always choose the lesser of two weevils.

  5. Azzizzi says:

    Long ago, when I was trained to be a baker by the Marine Corps, it was standard practice to sift flour, partly to remove lumps, but also to remove insects. I never found any insects, but it was understood that weevils and beetles were fine. Roaches, ants, and flies were not.

    • Southern says:

      Keep your flour in the freezer. No insects, and it also kills boll weevil and their eggs if they’re already in the flour when you bought it at the store.

  6. jaazzman says:

    Let me tell you about a friend of mine…
    His name’s Boll Weevil, check him out.
    Spends all day on his big butt and he don’t ever ever get to go outside.

  7. Blueskylaw says:

    That sort of honesty is refreshing. HUZZAH for the Ohio school district.

  8. nova3930 says:

    If they’re not dangerous anyway and were boiled on top of that I don’t see much of a problem. We already eat a fair amount of bugs every year from our food, we just don’t see them or know about them….

    • Dover says:

      Better than just throwing out the noodles, I would think. I certainly don’t want my taxes going to buy food that gets thrown out before it even gets on kids’ plates.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think if I found out my food came contaminated with bugs and the staff served it anyway, I would think twice about eating there again. Too bad these kids don’t have a choice.

    I accept that some food comes from the ground and as such, would have wildlife in it, but noodles are different.

    • Necoras says:

      Assume that all of your food has bugs in it. Insects are everywhere, from microscopic mites to cockroaches, and your food is no different. The FDA allows for a certain amount of insect, and rodent, parts and feces in all food sold in the USA. It really isn’t harmful at all, just some extra protein/various organic compounds, just distasteful. So long as the food isn’t infected with a harmful bacteria, you’re probably fine.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I know, I just don’t think about it. It’s not rational, it’s all psychological. Out of sight, out of mind.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        I think the point is that if there’s bugs and stuff in natural food, well, hey, that’s just how “natural” works. But something heavily processed and refined like dried noodles get contaminated with whole badniks when they’re produced in an unsanitary fashion. The raw ingredients might have some natural level of contamination but there should be no natural incidental contamination of processed and packaged foods.

        • Kitten Mittens says:

          Actually, no. The FDA understands that there is some level of “contamination” at any source and that as long as the amount is insignificant enough, it is acceptable.

          In other words, they realize that food isn’t processed in the same dust-free environments as your computer chips are.

          • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

            Not saying that I disagree with the FDA, just saying that finding a snake head in a box of frozen green beans would freak me out a lot less than a snake head in a box of frozen waffles. :)

    • Rena says:

      The bugs were removed, then the noodles were boiled, killing any germs that may have been left behind.

      Here’s something to think about: Most of the ingredients probably grew in a field, where bugs crawled all over it for months before it was harvested. Sure it would have been cleaned after that, but still, THERE WERE BUGS ON IT! :o

  10. Hawkins says:

    Ew, bugs. Bug-germs!

    If only there were a way to sterilize the noodles so as to neutralize the bug-germs. Perhaps if they’d boiled the noodles before serving them?

    Oh, wait…

    • Marlin says:

      You be ok if you were feed something with urine? Urine is a sterile after all so that be ok by your standards?

      Noodles are not some raw item from the ground. For bugs to be in it from the factory says the factory has issues. Let alone if that is ok to them to let a product go out like that, think what they have covered up.

      • Mr. Pottersquash says:

        If youve eaten shrimp or other such animal youve probably eaten some “unclean” shrimp poo.

        get over it. Frankly, yes, if you boiled the urine to kill the dangerous bits (and made it taste good) id eat it. Earth has exisited for a billion years, every gulp of water you take was probably another animals urine at some point just reused by nature and man.

        Get over it. If something is harmful its harmful, just because you odnt like the process doesnt mean the result is damaging.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:


  11. TasteyCat says:

    I don’t see how these lunches were any less healthy than regular school lunches. Probably should have kept the weevils in.

  12. mugwump says:

    IMHO this would only be interesting if some noodles accidently fell into a bag of dried boll weevils and the staff had to pick them out before serving.

    Bugs are common in food products, this is not a story.

    Here is the FDA take on insects:

    (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

  13. oldtaku says:

    The noodles have bits of ground up weevils and worse in them – removing whole ones then boiling is fine. This happens all the time when you eat at a restaurant, even one you think is pretty fancy.

    I don’t even understand why they felt the need to notify the parents, guess it’s just the usual middle management ‘OMG PANIC and cover our asses’ thing.

  14. Bativac says:

    Well, it looks like they’ve already fired somebody and given a couple other people an unpaid suspension.

    I wouldn’t have eaten the stuff though it was perfectly safe. Something about the perception, I guess. The school district’s food services director probably should have thought “if my boss asks me if I had to remove dead insects from food before serving it, and if parents ask the same thing, what’s it gonna sound like if I say yes?”

  15. Bagels says:

    As long as we aren’t talking about the British Bulldogs bulldog………THAT Matilda was a cutey pie

  16. Jdavis says:

    Actually I would rather my property taxes not be wasted by throwing out perfectly harmless food.

    • chaelyc says:

      “which officials said got into the packages at the factory”

      If that was the case I don’t think any reputable distributor or manufacturer would have batted an eye at replacing the food with bugless packages. It sounds like the school is just lazy.

  17. EJ25T says:

    Lunch Lady Doris Sez:

    “More Weevils means more iron”

  18. zibby says:

    Boll Weevils Found In School Lunch Noodles, Removed, Then Noodles Served


  19. Kibit says:

    Eww. I don’t care how much food has stuff in it. Its still just nasty!

    However, how would you feel if you bought a meal at a restaurant and found bugs in it?
    Does it depend on how much you paid for the meal?

    This school knew that there could be issues and thats why they sent home a letter. They should not have served this food to these children.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      As has been pointed out, all food has insect parts in. You can’t avoid it. You can’t escape it. You eat them when you’re sleeping. You eat them when you’re awake.

      If you can’t deal with that, perhaps you should locate an asteroid on which to live.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Your example is flawed. It would be like if you bought a meal at a restaurant, found no bugs in it, then found out bugs were removed before the meal was cooked.

  20. packcamera says:

    Probably the only protein these poor kids had a chance of consuming with the school lunches…

    • Azzizzi says:

      When I was in school, the school lunch was the best meal of the day. We were poor and my mom was a lousy cook.

  21. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    “boll weevils inside bags of dried eggs noodles”

    No financial loss. Wouldn’t the district get reimbursed by the manufacturer?

  22. Invader Zim says:

    Pretend they are shrimp and move on.

  23. Jane_Gage says:

    It’s what they leave behind–feces, eggs, and puke–that I wouldn’t want to consume.

  24. The_Legend says:

    Whiny kids nowadays.

  25. neilb says:

    Who the heck cares? Every single person who eats necessarily consumes bugs. There is no way to avoid them. In this story, any disease-carrying remnants (if there were any) were boiled/sterilized.

    Did you know that you can actually intentionally eat bugs? Most of the world does it intentionally!
    Rice weevils are seen as nutritious, but I can’t find any info about eating Boll weevils. American culture is the outlier when it comes to labeling bugs as taboo instead of as a snack.

    • MrEvil says:

      I’m not crazy about eating insects because most of them taste very Earthy, but I haven’t died from doing so. Plus the noodles were boiled. That’s more than enough to kill anything harmful on the ramen noodles.

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        when i was a kid my sister made chocolate chip cookies, only she left the dough on the counter for a while because she forgot to preheat the oven. it got full of red ants. my mom stirred the ants in, baked the cookies and served it to us. tasted kind of walnutty. wasn’t bad

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          NO WAY REALLY???

          Ha ha ha! You could have taken those to school and totally pranked the other kids. Well, no, you probably would have gotten in trouble but that would have been epic!

          “Great cookie…”
          “You ate an ant! Bwaahahaha!”

          • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

            we used to get my granddad weird food for christmas and it was always a challenge to see what kind of grossness we could find. by the time of the ant cookies, i’d already been exposed to candied ants, mealworm lollipops and chocolate covered grasshoppers

            • Skankingmike says:

              I’ve eaten all of those and they taste good.

              Seriously where do they think hunter and gathers got their protein from when meat was short?

  26. IT-Princess: I work in IT, you owe me $1 says:

    Are noodles that expensive they couldn’t have bought new stuff? Or had a last minute pizza day in the cafeteria? I just looked up a picture of a boll weevil… ew.

  27. JoeDawson says:

    the first time I seen a boll weevil
    he was sitting on the square
    and the next time I seen a boll weevil
    he had his whole family there
    they are looking for a home

  28. Kevin Welz says:

    I guess I am just to much of a good ole boy. No danger to students, and honestly this happens all the time. Most foods have this kind of thing, you just don’t notice it.

  29. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    You…you mean they threw away all that good protein? No wonder the U.S. is so far behind other countries academically.

  30. WickedCrispy says:

    Yeah, but do you think the students got a letter the day it was served?

  31. skepticalbunneh says:

    Check this article out, “Inmates Eating Better than Schoolkids? That’s Criminal.”

    More flame to this fire thanks to these ignorant cafeteria workers…

  32. Mcshonky says:

    great way to get the 5th flavor -umami- into your meal

  33. KPS2010 says:

    What the PHO?

  34. Juravial says:

    I don’t understand why they didn’t just send the packages back to the factory, or wholesaler, or whoever sold it to them. I say, let the company eat the loss.

  35. CountryJustice says:


  36. ronbo97 says:

    Were they listed on the ingredient label ?

  37. joecoolest says:

    It’s amazing how squeamish and insular we have become in regards to food production/harvesting.

  38. borgia says:

    This quite literally is what happens to every single salad you have ever eaten. The lettuce is picked, rinsed of bugs and dirt, and served. This food even had the added bonus of being boiled first.

  39. Destra says:

    The weevils were probably healthier than the other processed crap the school was serving…

  40. Chaosium says:

    This doesn’t really bother me. School lunches have no budget, they have no other option for this sort of situation. Plus, the bugs do not offer a health risk, it’s just a slightly gross thought.

  41. JohnnyD says:

    In middle school “Family and Consumer Education” class, we had to cook a burger casserole. When we were done cooking the meat, we saw a pink bit of it, and threw that part into the sink. We then assembled the casserole, and all was dandy, until our teacher came by my group and saw the meat in the then sudsy-from-doing-dishes sink. She proceeded to take the uncooked meat out of the sink, and plopped it onto our casserole. Maybe her eyes were failing her, so she didn’t see the pinkness, but still… I think there’s a part of the population that just doesn’t understand or care about the hygiene of food. Me, I’m a freak about it.
    (PS, we didn’t eat any of the casserole we made. We left it to the other groups. Gawd, I hated that class…)

  42. DanKelley98 says:

    If it happened “at the factory”, the school district should have returned them and demanded a refund. Sounds like something “educated” people might do….

  43. varro says:

    Could you imagine what would happen if this was in Portland?

    “It’s nooooot veeeeeeegan!!!”

  44. Ben says:

    Weevils are pretty cute, but I wouldn’t want to eat them.

  45. JadePharaoh says:

    I don’t see the problem. If there was any bacteria or anything on the weevils, the boiling would’ve killed it. But apparently, the cooks were expected to throw all of that food away, regardless of whether it was still safe to eat or not. Because a bug touched it. What a wasteful society we live in…

  46. Nakko says:

    Hey cool, I have orange chopsticks too!

  47. AlphaLackey says:

    these bugs living inside the noodle container remind me of my favorite game, Resident Weevil.

  48. chaelyc says:

    If they were infested at the factory shouldn’t the school have contacted them for a replacement shipment instead? I’ve never even heard of a school who only keeps enough food on-hand for the day ahead so I’m sure they could have found something else to serve in the meantime.