Cockroach in my Quiche!

S.K. Watts


I awoke on New Year’s Day expecting to have a peaceful and pleasant day, beginning the day as is my custom by making my breakfast with quiche being the star of the morning. It was a Quiche Loraine that I’d purchased at my local Walmart from a company that advertises itself as preparing wonderful pre-prepared foods for our enjoyment. Image my surprise about a third away into my breakfast of quiche, bacon and coffee when I found myself starring at what appeared to be a giant cockroach with its back end up in the air right in the middle of the next bite I was about to enjoy! It was all I could do to begin to calm myself and sit quietly for a moment whilst trying to convince myself that this wasn’t happening. First off, it was the first day of the year. I’d always believed that how I lived this day would set the stage for all the days to follow.

My first horrified thought thereafter was… I hope the thing is intact. The thought of having ingested any part of it made me instantaneously off to bathroom to be sick. When I recovered, I took a deep breath and began pulling the egg and crust part away from the bug only to find out THAT THERE WAS NO HEAD PRESENT anywhere in the quiche on the plate or still in the pan! I’d obviously eaten a cockroach head in my last bite. I was off to honor the bathroom throne again with some pretty serious retching going on for the rest of the day.

My second thought was that the meat product in the quiche was the same color as the cockroach! Off again to the bathroom for another go around.

And yes folks, there was a third thought. You guessed it. How many times had I ingested these horrible bugs that were not listed in the advertised ingredients I’d paid good money to have someone else prepare in the myriad of quiches I’d bought over the years? I would’ve, and probably did, believe that any crunchy brown material was a part of the intended ingredients that I trusted a food preparation company to seal into my meal. I spent the remainder of the day after abating the retching nauseous. And I was unable to eat solid food for three days. The mere thought of an egg or seeing any food in a commercial the same color as the bug had me turning away in disgust.

Food prices have continuously gone up in the last three years. I fear that since I was one of the last to know that the food industry has been considering using ‘insect protein’ that I am paying more for my food without any guarantee that the companies I buy my food from haven’t gone to using bug protein without my knowledge or permission. Permission of course being that I purchased a product that listed insects as part of the ingredients. I wouldn’t buy such a product; I would take up growing my own food and bartering with neighbors who probably do the same and not risk eating a bug. Or a bug that could have been the product of being contaminated by toxic insecticides before eaten!

Did you know that many companies around the world are using insect product in their food industries? Of course, without discounting the price of the merchandise even though they are reducing their cost to “enhance” or substitute bugs for more costly ingredients… Like the meat we have been used to eating for the prices we pay for food these days. To my knowledge, here in the U.S. companies must list all of their ingredients on the packaging so that the consumer can make an educated choice. And… one of the most popular ‘insect proteins’ I understand is Cricket Powder. Bad enough that I don’t want to eat crickets, but I hear that the heads of a cricket can be toxic to human beings. Don’t you think we should have a choice to take the risk?

Anyway, it’s been three months now, and the best I could do on the topic of eggs was to buy some to color for Easter and Spring Equinox. I still cannot eat them without being instantly nauseated. I am sure, with time this will pass. And as pigs are very intelligent and I wasn’t going to eat bacon past New Year’s as it was a tradition, it is okay that I will not knowingly eat bacon again. So…

Here’s a thought as I pause to take a deep breath… It is illegal Italy for food companies to sell products with insects in them. Therefore… I have switched to buying only Barilla products for pasta and am in the process of figuring out all the food stuffs on the market that can be purchased from countries that do not allow bugs in food. Once again, that ‘enhanced protein’ you hear about might just contain cricket powder in it even though we’ve heard that the heads of crickets are toxic to human beings. Must be a whole lot of work to put all those crickets through tiny guillotines to assure the public isn’t eating cricket heads!

Due to how we are treating the environment, I know that insect protein is a growing consideration in food production, and the general public, for the most part, has been kept in the dark. I for one want to know why we have not been told it’s okay to serve insects at the food for our food level or why crickets and cockroaches are not listed on the labels of food we pay money to buy. And I would like to see all the research proving that eating bugs is safe for us or any better than putting together a complete protein with a legume and a grain? And disclaimers on our food packaging stating the percent of insect contamination that is allowed in our food so I will be sure not to buy it.

There is only solution to be relatively sure that your food is sans cockroaches and crickets and all these other pests that might even have been sprayed with toxic pesticides… And that is to make your food yourself. Scary thought, but it might be safer for you and those whom you love. And research where your foods for heaven’s sake! Request their inspection records. Make some noise! And if you can’t find any food companies who cannot guarantee you won’t have bugs in your food (remember they don’t give you discounts for contaminating the food you eat) then research where you might get your food that is safe to eat and enjoy with your friends. And that won’t ruin a holiday for you which will sadly be remembered for the rest of my life.

Thus far, I’ve been told that it is illegal to sell bugs in any ration in Italy. I might begin living on the Blue Zone Diet or growing my own food so I can inspect it, wash it, and then prepare knowing that I will have a better chance of not making myself sick.

Anyway, I am including recipes for making your own quiches and enjoying them confident that not only did you have the pleasure of making something good, but you might also even enjoy some more time with your friends and family visiting while you cook. Chances are you might live longer (for sure better) by returning to the kitchen and the concept of socializing with friends and loved ones.

Update on having contacted the companies by which my quiche and the cockroach found it’s way to my home:

After multiple tries to get a hold of corporate Walmart, I was assured that they would contact the secondary supplier company that brings them the product as they are not responsible for sealed products purchased in their store. They promised to call me back and send a report of pest inspections (although I wasn’t sure why a sealed product from a supplier that wasn’t the original company who put the quiche in the pan needed inspected for bugs in this case) but nobody has emailed, texted, or called me back from Walmart.

The company whose brand name is on the product, La Terra Fina, promised to send my request for them to offer some type of proof that they cared about the fact there was a cockroach in my New Year’s quiche Loraine to the ‘next level’ but I’ve not received any communication from that ‘next level.’ They did read me over the phone what was supposed to be an apology letter that sounded more like a commercial advertisement for their ‘healthy product’ and never send me a copy of that letter as promised. I am still appalled that this can happen in a country that pays a considerable amount of the average household product for ‘healthy food’ that doesn’t list insects (and the possibility of cockroaches specifically) on their list of ingredients.

Here is at least to hoping we will all stop relying on believing that companies that prepare our food to have our safety (and our stomachs) as a prime priority. Eat well. Eat safer. Inspect your food before ingesting it if you didn’t prepare it from scratch. Learn to bake and cook if you haven’t already. It will serve you well in the future.

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