Packaging Trends

Bulk Food Problem Called Food Moth

Bulk food is developing quickly in organic groceries and supermarkets, but with it comes an insect called the food moth.

France has now 355 stores with 100% bulk food, compared to 160 in 2015. Bulk become an all-you-can-eat buffet for a small insect well known to shops and consumers: the food mite.

“There are two species of mites,” explains Simon Dupont, a research engineer in the biology of the insect. There is the dried fruit moth, which is two-colored, and the gray flour moth. ”

More proliferation with organic

Julie, a regular consumer of bulk products, noted: “I have already seen food moths in trays of flour from organic stores and it also happens often with chickpeas. You discover the bad surprise until a few days later, when you open your jar… ”

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“ We can find it in packaged rice as well as in bulk ” , explains Célia Rennesson, Director of Réseau Vrac. But the possibility of proliferation increases with organic. “As we do not use pesticides, there are multiplied risks of having small animals”, comments Johanna Le Mau, creator of the Ô Bocal boutique in Nantes.

“I had contaminated hazelnuts,” says Camille Ratia, author of the book Le Zéro trash. “I saw them grow in the jar. But I have never seen moths fly in stores. »

Minimum stocks and fast turnovers

In stores, vigilance is generally maximum so as not to let these little animals ruin stocks. If the big brands did not wish to answer our questions, all the bulk stores follow the same process.

“We control our arrivals, store as little as possible and make sure to have quick rotations” , explains the head of the Biocoop de Rochefort (Charente-Maritime). “When filling the silos, we do everything with a shovel, so we can directly see a mite flying away,” adds Johanna Le Mau.

To avoid proliferation in stores, control, upon receipt, is essential. “Everyone may not do it, but we refuse pallets when moths fly around,” said Arnaud Champagne, manager of the On passe au vrac boutique in La Châtre (Indre).

Above all, respect the cold chain

If mites are especially a problem during the summer, the risk of proliferation exists all year round. “Our suppliers all have a plan against pests followed upstream,” explains Sami Zehar, manager of a Naturalia store in Paris. From supplier to store, the most effective principle is to apply the cold chain to the products. ”

This is to control the temperature and humidity, because the moth is a chilly butterfly and eggs do not develop under twenty degrees. Didier Onraita, president of the Day by day bulk network, warns about the hygiene of the containers: “Each time a batch is changed, it must be washed and disinfected. ”

As soon as these steps are followed, we do not, a priori, bring home moths! “I have been shopping in bulk for years and I have had this problem only once,” says Monica Da Silva, Zero Waste Consultant.

Favor the jar sealed at home

The invasion can come from the store, but also from the consumer! Bulk kept in poor conditions makes moths happy.

“At home, the storage conditions are not necessarily ideal,” comments Gwendoline Champagne, from the On passe au vrac store. You can, for example, store flour in a paper bag instead of putting it in a jar. »

It is therefore necessary to favor tightly closing containers, like a jar with a seal, and think of placing them in a relatively cool place.

Containers not or badly washed in supermarkets

As Didier Onraita points out, “if moths are not a danger for consumers, a certain number of hygiene rules must be clarified for distributors, in particular on washing containers. Today, the regulation is not very clear and leaves the possibility for stores not to wash them often, if ever. ”

A problem that we find in large distribution, according to Gwendoline Champagne: ” Large distribution rushes into the bulk because there is demand, but it does not train its staff in good hygiene practices. Washing is often very poorly done. »

Legislation to be reviewed

A big cleaning to do, in fact, because if a scandal occurs, the image of the bulk will be definitively be tarnished. Clear and legally framed prevention and hygiene rules are needed.

Indispensable if you do not want the moth to become the problem of bulk.

How to get rid of them

The eggs are invisible to the naked eye, but once you see the larvae, you have to act quickly because the mites develop at the speed of lightning. Hence the importance of airtight containers.

If you see filaments such as cobwebs in the middle of your almonds, it is too late: you will soon discover that they are there. You must throw everything away and then clean the container with white vinegar.

Also remember to check all your jars. If you have stored everything in airtight containers, only one pot can be touched … Otherwise, you must empty everything and clean up. The larvae can, in fact, stick everywhere: under packages, in the corner of a shelf, under a cover …



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La mite alimentaire, ennemie cachée du vrac




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