If you find a fly in your cooking pot, you’re going to want to clean it thoroughly and immediately. Flies can carry hundreds of diseases: bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
The longer a fly has been on a surface, the more likely it is that the fly has left germs.
Flies may also poop or even lay eggs in the cooking pot. Flies spend a lot of time in garbage and feces, and they’ll carry some of this with them and onto your pot.
If you had something cooking that the fly landed in, you’ll want to throw that food away.
- Throw away any food in the pot
- Clean the pot well
- Flies carry disease
- Flies may poop, vomit, or lay eggs
- Do not cook with the pot until it has been cleaned
First you want to throw away any food in the pot if you were cooking when you saw the fly.
Next, rinse the pot with warm water.
Scrub the cooking pot well with lots of soap.
Wash the cooking pot off with more warm water until all soap is gone.
Dry your pot.
How do they eat?
The eating process of flies can be slightly horrifying. Flies don’t have any teeth, so once they find something they want to eat, they regurgitate saliva onto the food surface.
This helps break the food down, so it can easily be sucked up and swallowed.
The vomit is also full of pathogens from its last meal. Germs inside flies live longer than the ones they carry on their feet, so these are more likely to cause illness.
Other bodily functions
Flies defecate frequently as well, so if they have enough time to explore your food, they have likely pooped somewhere on it. It is also possible for a female fly to have laid eggs after landing on your food.
The places they stay
As said by food hygiene expert, Dr. Cameron Webb, it isn’t necessarily the flies but where they come from that matters.
Flies spend a large amount of time in plant and animal waste, and these areas are the home to the greatest number of pathogens and diseases.
Flies can carry hundreds of diseases on their bodies and the little hairs on their legs, and the more they walk around on your food, the more germs they are leaving behind.
You never know where a fly just came from, another cooking pot or a pile of trash.
What germs could flies carry?
Disease specialist Brent W. Laartz says that flies can carry salmonella, E. coli, hepatitis A, and rotavirus, all serious diseases.
They might also carry shigella, which causes diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, and is easy to catch.
However, no fly will carry all, if any, of those diseases. Once again, it comes down to where the fly has been.
The diseases mentioned above are not found everywhere flies eat, but are generally found in animal feces or on raw meat.
How much should I worry?
Short amounts of time
Although everything described is extremely unpleasant, you don’t need to worry too much. If a fly lands in your cooking pot and you quickly swat it away, little harm was done.
There is still a potential risk, but the amount of disease that could have been transmitted is quite small.
The fly did not have time to vomit and try to eat or defecate, and these are what can cause greater harm. Timing is everything here, and the more time a fly has, the more problems it can cause.
Any disease that the fly might have been carrying would also be relatively harmless. Our bodies are made to fight off germs by using our immune system.
We encounter thousands of pathogens a day, from opening a doorknob to rubbing our eye, but our bodies know how to handle it.
If you still want to be safe, you can throw out what you were cooking, but this isn’t necessary.
Longer amounts of time
The bigger concern is if the fly has been on the food for a while. If you didn’t notice it quickly or the food was left out and the fly had free range, then it is much safer to just throw it out.
The fly has now had plenty of time to spit up saliva and start eating away at your food. This is a fast process and not something you want to consume.
The fly has also had time to poop or even lay eggs, especially if the food was just left sitting outside.
You are still unlikely to get sick because of a fly in your cooking, but the chance is greater. You should throw this food away.
While the pot is empty
If you weren’t cooking anything in the pot yet when the fly landed, the process is much simpler. Just wash the pot out thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of any disease the fly may have left.
Do not use the pot until you have cleaned it very well.
Where you are
The greatest factor in how worried you should be is where you are in the world. In the United States, or other first world countries, you are unlikely to contract serious illnesses from flies.
In third world countries though, there is a much higher chance. Developing economies tend not to have good plumbing or health care, so flies can carry much deadlier diseases from human waste.
Flies are also more likely to cause harm in the countryside than in an urban city. Surprising right? This is because pesticides are used to help keep the fly population in check.
Rural areas not only have a greater fly population, but the flies are more likely to have been around animal waste or even carcasses.
Do I need to throw the food away?
Dr. Cameron Webb explained that any pathogens left by a fly are unlikely to make the average person sick. If you would rather be safe than sorry, then yes, you should throw the food away.
But is it going to kill you if you eat the food? No.
A quick landing won’t do enough harm to really affect you. Moreover, even if the fly has been there a while, the worst that could happen is you get sick for a few days.
So throw away anything that a fly has been on for a long period of time, but otherwise you will most likely be perfectly fine.
How to properly clean your cooking pot
It doesn’t take too much effort to clean your cooking pot, about the same as any other time you’re doing the dishes. First, rinse the pot out well with warm water.
Next, you want to scrub it with a good amount of soap (any brand is fine). Then rinse it again until the soap is all gone and leave it to dry. That’s it!
If you want to make it even easier and have one available, you could even just put your pot in the dishwasher.
How do I avoid getting flies in the first place?
Obviously it isn’t possible to never have a fly land on your food, especially if you’re cooking outdoors, but you can decrease the chances. One great way to do this is by using insecticides.
Always cover food if you are preparing, cooking, or serving outside. Don’t leave leftovers open outdoors either. Always cover the food so flies have no opportunity to stop by and start eating.
You can also use screens if you enjoy keeping windows or back doors open for fresh air. These help keep bugs out but still allow air circulation.
Another way to keep away flies is by minimizing garbage. Keep your house clean, especially the kitchen, and wipe up any spills or crumbs left behind.
Throw out your trash regularly and make sure it is covered. You should pick up and throw out animal waste as well.
Always clean a cooking pot that a fly has been in. They can carry hundreds of diseases on their legs, and they may vomit or poop directly on their landing spots.
Flies are everywhere, and we have probably all eaten something a fly has been on at some point in our lives. It is unlikely that a quick landing before you swat the fly away will cause harm.
The average human is built to withstand the numerous germs countered in day-to-day life. It is very unlikely that you will become sick simply from a fly.
However, if you were currently cooking when you found the fly, then you probably want to throw the food away.
The more time a fly has with food, the more destruction it has caused and pathogens it has left in its wake.
If you were not cooking then there is little to worry about. You need to wash the pot (make sure to use soap!) and it will be ready to go for the next use.
Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:What Will Happen if a Human Swallowed a Fly
Dead Flies on Your Window Sill? (Read This First!)
What Are These Little Flies in My House (7 Examples)
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