I’ve always been a huge fan of shopping bulk bins for certain items. I like being able to get only the amount I need plus they’re cheaper and reduce the amount of packaging waste we generate. There’s a gourmet grocery store here in the Nashville area that my husband and I love partly because they have great bulk bins. I go there to get my cashew fix and hubby stocks up on trail mix to take in his lunch.
Last week we stopped by to check out the weekly sales and grab some snacks. Hubby got his normal trail mix and we brought our items home. The next day he noticed a small white worm similar to a maggot on the inside rim of the container. Unfortunately he had already eaten some of it. He turned the plastic container over and looked at the bottom. There were at least 5 other worms crawling around in the bottom of the container. We assume these were the larvae of some type of moth.
I’m not going to say the name of the store because I don’t want to slam them. I don’t think this problem was specific to them but a problem inherent with bulk bins. I started doing some research and this isn’t particularly unusual. When my husband took the trail mix back, the cashier told him that it happens periodically and that it had happened to her.
Needless to say, we won’t be shopping the bulk bins anymore but if you are, here are a few things to lookout for:
- Stick to vertical bins instead of the one’s people can put their hands into. This is a little more sanitary but they can still get infested.
- If buying flour or cornmeal give the bin a quick stir. Check the bin carefully for weevels or larvae.
- If buying items prepackaged from the bins, example the package carefully. If package isn’t clear plastic, leave it.
- If you buy something from the bins, examine it closely when you get home. Check it out before you eat it or place them in your pantry. Larvae can infest anything in your pantry that isn’t in a sealed container.
- After you get home, place bulk bin items in the freezer for 24 hours. This will kill the larvae before they start to hatch.