Are Chocolate Worms Dangerous? [ANSWERED]

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Chocolate worms are white and are around 1/4″ long with a dark dot on the “face” end.

From experience, this is hatched from the chocolate itself as food just can’t be 100% pure. You can refrigerate to slow it down a lot. However, it is best to purchase the chocolate in amounts you’ll use reasonably fast.

How to Prevent Chocolate Worms

  • You should bag the chocolate individually so it doesn’t spread from one to the other.
  • Clean the cabinet well to get rid of the source of infection. I have noticed that worms in cocoa typically occur in a chocolate with extras, usually nuts. So, use those types of chocolate quickly.
  • You can return contaminated items to the store.

Worms in chocolate are part of a variety of insects commonly referred to as “pantry pests”. These consist of a few tiny beetles and some species of moth-like the Indian Meal Moth.

The females of these species like to lay eggs in any number of foods that are fairly dry. These consist of beans, peas, whole grains, lentils, raisins, various flours, chocolate, and sadly several other dried fruits.

These pests are 100% unavoidable, and despite the very best efforts by the producers, some food items will have eggs laid on them before they get packaged and the machine won’t pick them; neither will the operators discover them.

The eggs hatch while they’re inside the package and so when you open it, ugh, there’s a tiny or group of caterpillar, if it was meal moth that laid eggs or an even tinier critter that’s a bit worm-like, if it was weevil that laid the eggs.

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chocolate worms

How Do Worms and Maggots Get Inside Wrapped Chocolate Bars?

The maggots and worms you find in your chocolate are potentially the larva of a moth. There are different species from the genus ephestia that have the ability to take up residence in chocolate manufacturing facilities.

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These things either arrive in contaminated raw materials, being walked in on equipment, clothing or personal food items or flying in through the doors, windows and ventilation system.

It is common knowledge that manufacturers take the best care to minimize the chance of playing host to an infestation via good building design, deep cleaning of equipment before it is taken into a production zone, and careful maintenance too.

Operators change shoes and clothes when entering and leaving production rooms. No food may be taken into the production area.

I have seen companies use Pheremone traps to monitor for infestation. Fogging with insecticide will eliminate moths that are “on the wing” but it is tricky to kill eggs and larvae.

In the past fumigation of the entire facility with methyl bromide was effective but this method is no longer available due to environmental concerns.

It is quite possible to fully exterminate ephestia. To do this, you need to take advantage of the moth’s life cycle.

It takes some weeks to go from egg to fertile adult. By following the good and the “best manufacturing practice” and process design, the quantity and residence time of raw, part processed, and finished produce present in the production area is kept to a minimum.

The idea is to not give moths that have penetrated the first line of defense anywhere to live and certainly not give them time to hatch, grow and breed.

From time to time, all food materials can be taken away from the machinery and facility, tools, equipment, and surfaces are deep cleaned.

The room is then fogged. If the moth lifecycle is 12 weeks, then physically removing any food materials that may be housing eggs and larvae and killing adults every 6 weeks should eliminate whatever infestation and prevent reinfestation.

The cocoa moth (ephestia elutella) is not typically regarded as a risk to health or a harbour for pathogenic bacteria, viruses or fungi. However, you wouldn’t want to eat one

It is possible that chocolate becomes infested during the passage via the wholesale or retail distribution chain, or on storage in the home. In such cases, there will have been damaged to the packaging.

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If you do come across infested chocolate, put everything, chocolate, packaging, and ‘worms’ in a sturdy plastic bag, seal, and return to the place you bought it or directly to the manufacturer. Before doing this you should notify your local environmental health office (UK) as they may wish to investigate and follow up on your behalf.

What Happens If You Eat Chocolate with Worms in It?

Because eating chocolate with worms is quite common, you need not be immediately concerned if it happens to you. However, there is risk of health complications and the occurrence of various diseases, such as bacterial poisoning, or intestinal myiasis.

  • Bacterial Poisoning

Worms are potential carriers of common bacteria that they have picked up from animal or human waste.

Once they contact this, they can spread it on edible foods you and I eat. Foods such as chocolate. Most times, people are able to withstand the bacteria reactions due to their strong immune system.

This allows them go without any complications. But, some people with a weak immune system may suffer from food poisoning, such as Escherichia coli or salmonella.

You might encounter some symptoms shortly after ingesting the chocolate.

  • Salmonella

Salmonella is quite common in foods than you realize. If you become poisoned, you will experience symptoms such as nausea, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

People who get salmonella usually do not need any special treatment since the bacteria will go away on its own in about 4 to 7 days.

  • Escherichia Coli

This is yet another bacteria that can be passed on via worms in food like chocolate.

The symptoms are similar to salmonella, and usually, it is treated in the same way. The person who becomes infected with Escherichia coli needs to take in lots of liquid, as well as rest.

  • Myiasis

This is an infection that worms in chocolate produce when ingested.

The infection can lead to some serious damage to tissue, therefore, it needs medical attention. You might experience a small symptoms, but it is always advised that you double-check everything, so you will be on the safe side.

How Do Worms and Maggots Get in Chocolate?

Fly larvae are laid in cocoa when they’re taken for production. These larvae are not visible to the naked eye; so, people do not intentionally leave them on the cocoa plant.

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So, when chocolate is made, the larvae stay on the cocoa and later come as maggots and worms inside the chocolate.

In addition, many types of chocolate contain nuts and other additional food, which are sources for even more possibilities for fly larvae that will later come as worms or maggots.

What Kind of Worms Get in Chocolate?

The types of worms in chocolate are called maggots. Maggots are larvae of the common flies.

They lack legs and feature a soft body, so they appear like worms, but they are not actually the common type you might easily see in other types of food.

They are usually live and feed on the tissue debris or rotting flesh of plants and animals. That is why it is common for maggots to appear in food that comes from plants, such as the cocoa plant from which chocolate is made.

White Worms in Chocolate

White worms in chocolate are the larvae of moths and the likes. They consist of insects that usually infest foods while being stored in warehouses, or transported in trucks, etc.

A maggot is a fly larva and they feed on rotting meat. So, they are hard to find in chocolate, which is starchy and sweet.

Are Holes in Chocolate Bars from Worms?

It is quite possible that the holes you see on your chocolate bars are from worms. Worm larvae will cause small holes in wrapped chocolate as they begin to feed on it. Humans can ingest maggots without causing any damage to their health. But, there are cases where it can come to complications, so you need to be careful.

Are Chocolate Worms Dangerous?

Chocolate worms aren’t dangerous and ingesting them won’t do you any harm. However, some people may suffer food poisoning when they consume spoilt food. Signs of food poisoning can range from very mild to serious, and they can sometimes go on for 3 days or more.

Can You Get Worms From Old Chocolate?

No! Eating worms from old chocolate will kill the chocolate-infested worms. They won’t be able to survive inside you.

Author: Howard S. Baldwin

My name is Howard S. Baldwin. I am a work-at-home dad to three lovely girls, Jane + Hannah + Beauty. I have been blogging for the last 3 years. I worked for other Home and Lifetsyle blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say, researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to DIY life and homemaking.

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