Most of us just ‘shoo’ them away and continue eating our food.
If a fly lands on your food, would you throw that away, or would you simply shoo them away? While most of us simply ‘shoo’ these small insects away, some people would lose their appetite after seeing a fly land on their food. Who wouldn’t? If only they knew that adult house flies (musca domestica) carry more than 100 human and animal diseases!
These include salmonella, anthrax, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera and diarrhoea as well as a host of parasites including pinworms, roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
As soon as a fly lands on food, it vomits on the food in order to be able to digest it, since flies do not have the ability to chew.
Dr Jeff Scott, a Cornell University professor of entomology, said: ‘Anything that comes out of an animal, such as bacteria and viruses, house flies can take from that waste and deposit on your sandwich.
‘House flies are the movers of any disgusting pathogenic microorganism you can think of.’
However, according to University of Sydney medical lecturer Cameron Webb, you will probably be fine after eating food where a fly has landed on. Apparently, though insects are known to spread germs, it is unlikely that any germs they transfer onto the food would cause someone to become ill.
Dr Webb said: ‘In most instances, spotting a fly on your food doesn’t mean you need to throw it out,’ he wrote.
‘While there is little doubt that flies can carry bacteria, viruses and parasites from waste to our food, a single touchdown is unlikely to trigger a chain reaction leading to illness for the average healthy person.’