Grain infestation

I recently bought some rice from a major supermarket that was infested with larvae.  How did I find this out?  Because I made a huge double recipe of stew using it, and saw something that looked like tiny worms in it when I stirred it.  Yuck, disgusting!  And really frustrating, to spend so much time and money making a really nice dish and have to throw it all away. 

But the frustration didn’t end there.  I had several other bags of rice that I bought at the same time, and since they were all sealed in their individual bags, I wasn’t worried about the infestation spreading.  I thought even if more than one bag was infested, I would check each bag before I used it and just throw it away if I saw any signs of anything; then there wouldn’t be a problem.  Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know that the larvae can eat through plastic after they hatch into moths.  :(  Two days ago I was dismayed to find several small white moths inside the cupboard downstairs (where all of this stuff was stored) – and discovered that everything in the cabinets was infested.  Even food items in an entirely different cabinet.  Crackers, boxes of oatmeal and grits, beans, lentils, grains – all needed to be thrown away.

If I had known the warning signs, I would have realized this rice was a problem while I was still in the store.  But I didn’t.  So I’m sharing this with you in case you have this situation and you won’t have to go through what I did.  I noticed a very tiny amount of webbing on the shelf underneath the rice, so I didn’t take the rice that was directly on top of it.  Now I now that once there’s a sign of infestation, you have to stay away from anything that’s been near it. 

 Yesterday I went to the supermarket where I bought the rice, to return what I got from there.  I planned to replace what I returned with new stock from the store.  When I went to the section where the rice and beans were stocked, I checked each individual bag – here’s what I looked for: webbing on the inside or outside of a bag, larvae pieces on the outside of the bags, tiny holes in the plastic.  I found most of the bags I looked at had tiny chew holes, so I decided not to frequent this supermarket for a while until their stock has been entirely replaced.  Checking the bags is pretty quick, and will save you from having to throw away lots of food once these insects get into it.  I also decided that I’ll freeze the grains overnight after buying them so that if anything is in it, it won’t be able to spread. 

I hope you won’t need this information any time soon!:)

Avivah

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