Occasionally I'll find a hair in my food. If I find one in say a restaurant, I won't eat my food, but I can't just throw out an entire platter of food if at home where my own grandma worked hard to cook it for me. In that case, I'll generally pick the hair out and continue eating (at least in that case I know where the hair has been).

If a hair falls into food in preparation, is the food still safe to serve/eat once the hair is removed? What are the potential hazards of serving food with a hair still in it?


1 Answer 1


-- Hair is a protein mostly keratin

Keratin refers to a family of fibrous structural proteins. Keratin is the key of structural material making up the outer layer of human skin. It is also the key structural component of hair and nails.

There's nothing special about it as a protein, so as long as it doesn't wrap around your tonsils and get stuck in your throat, or contain dyes, hairspray etc. it's safe to eat. However, the long stringy nature of the stuff can cause problems if you eat too much of it.

  • I never considered it getting stuck to the tonsils or the negative effects of dyes/hairspray. I think longer hairs that are capable of causing mechanical damage (such as with the tonsils or getting stuck in the throat) would be a lot easier to notice and pick out. But I wonder if even small hairs can get suck to the tonsils or throat and cause an infection.
    – JSideris
    Dec 23, 2011 at 16:21
  • 2
    Anyone who's owned a cat has surely witnessed what happens when they've ingested too much hair. But that requires consuming quite a bit more than one or two stray hairs that might have fallen into one's food...
    – Aaronut
    Dec 23, 2011 at 17:33
  • @Aaronut yes well my neighbour owns a few cats and whenever she bakes cookies and sends them over I sometimes cough up a hairball (in a figurative sense). Actually I doubt the human body is able to cough back hair the way a cat can (hair might just build up in the stomach or something), but I guess that would make for an off topic question on these forums :P.
    – JSideris
    Dec 23, 2011 at 18:07
  • @Bizorke: Cats don't really "cough" up hairballs, that's kind of a euphemism. Hair is like anything else that animals can't digest; if it's important/built-up enough to get rid of, the body will find a way to get rid of it, even if it has to use a different exit.
    – Aaronut
    Dec 23, 2011 at 19:46
  • I disagree that it will always find a way out. Long hairs can get caught up in the digestive system. In the worst case they will form a bezoar, but you have to ingest lots of them before obstruction happens, the stray hair from food isn't enough.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 23, 2011 at 20:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.