The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is conducting an investigation into the presence of Iron Cross Blister beetles (Tegrodera spp.) in imported leafy vegetables following recent consumer complaints of these beetles in pre-packaged salads. There have been no confirmed illnesses or injuries associated with the consumption of these products.
Fresh produce can harbour insects that may be injurious to consumers, but this is rare. The Iron Cross Blister beetle is very distinctively coloured, with a bright red head and bright yellow markings on the wings, separated by a black “cross”. This particular beetle should be treated with caution as it may release an irritating chemical called “cantharidin”. This chemical may cause blisters at the point of contact.
Consumers are advised to wash and visually inspect their leafy vegetables thoroughly. The beetle should be removed without touching or crushing it. If found, please advise your local CFIA office.
More information will be shared with the public as it becomes available. The CFIA will take all necessary steps to protect the safety of the Canadian food supply.