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Recently, a sack of whole grain organic rice that we bought became infected with small black bugs. We bought the rice in the bulk bins at the same organic supermarket we always visit, but this time we didn't cook it until a few weeks after buying it. Since, the rice was stored in a sealed plastic bag, it seems like the bugs (or their eggs?) must have been in the rice when we bought it. Is this normal? Should I worry about buying rice there again? Is there a better way I should be storing the rice? It was in a plastic sack with a twist-tie.

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4 Answers 4

Those bugs are probably weevils. I would take it back to the store and ask for a refund. If the rice is the only grain with bugs, chances are the larvae were already in the rice.

The weevils are about 1/4 inch long and they have a little tube sticking out of their head. The larvae take about 35 days to emerge from inside the kernels. A farmer can only control a weevil infestation with chemicals, which would preclude the organic label, and there is just so much frogs and birds can eat.

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The question is, what is the lesser of the two weevils? –  bmargulies Sep 11 '10 at 23:39
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I have always understood that a certain level of egg incidence is unavoidable (and thus is acceptable under FDA standards). Under the right conditions, they will hatch. I learned to always put a new bag of grain/flour in the freezer for 3 days (I usually forget it for a week or two) after which it keeps for months.

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I occasionally to find bugs in organic bags of unopened rice. I believe this is normal for organic grains. I have also found them in organic popcorn. Not often but it happens. It's Part of nature & organic natural lifestyle. If you want to toss it/ return it, understandable, but not necessary. you can freeze or rinse in colander & remove them. Then cook as usual.

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I wouldn't be any too pleased. I'd take it back and complain.

My guess is that you could have held this down to 'a bit of extra protein' by freezing the rice, but you shouldn't have to do this. I've bought bulk organic rice from WFM here in Boston for 20 years and never had this problem.

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