High sugar fruits and berries are among the items you may have inadvertently eaten that may cause fruit fly eggs to hatch.
The new Australian Food Standards Agency (AFSA) advice on fruit fly egg health, published in June, states: “The majority of fruits and vegetables, and especially those that contain high sugar, may contain high levels of sugars, which can cause egg hatching, as well as symptoms of low-grade illness, such as fever, diarrhoea, headache, joint pain, and swelling in the neck or throat.”
So, is high sugar fruit fly food safe?
“The evidence for food safety is mixed, with some studies suggesting a link between high sugar and poor quality foods,” the AFSA says.
It adds that a recent review found fruit fly hatching and eggs can occur in some foods, and it is not recommended to consume high sugar fruits or berries.
The agency says there is no scientific evidence to prove that high sugar foods cause the eggs to be hatched.
High sugar fruit flies have a wing span of about 60mm and can reach up to 6cm in length.
They are also known as the Australian fruit fly larvae.
They have a number of health issues that can include:Fruit flies can reproduce in a number different ways, including laying their eggs in fruit that has been exposed to air pollution, heat, pesticides and salt.
They can also lay eggs in food that is contaminated with bacteria.
Fruit fly larvae are more susceptible to infection than adults and can become infected by eating infected fruit, although this has not been seen in many cases.
The AFSAs advice also says: “Although it is possible to detect the presence of eggs on foods that contain honey, fruit flies do not usually develop eggs on those foods.”
What is fruit fly disease?
The AFAAs advice says fruit fly diseases can be caused by exposure to the following things:The eggs, which are typically small and round, can be laid by a single queen.
The larvae are carried to the ground and pupate in the soil.
When the adults emerge, they can bite the skin and can cause swelling of the neck and throat, fever, muscle pain, headache and joint pain.
When larvae hatch, the adults can bite and eat the larvae.
In rare cases, larvae can die from food poisoning, but the majority of cases are caused by food poisoning.
What can you do about it?
It is not known whether high sugar food has a role in the development of fruit fly infestations.
But experts say there is growing evidence that exposure to high sugar is linked to increased risk of developing fruit fly infection.
“Food that contains high sugar can cause fruit flies to develop a range of symptoms that are similar to those associated with high-risk foods such as raw milk, cheese and butter,” the Australian Food and Agriculture Organisation (AFOA) says.
“If these symptoms are present and the symptoms are not treated promptly, they may lead to serious consequences.”
The AFFA also warns that “foods that contain very high levels (of sugar) should be avoided.”
It says that “high sugar fruit and berries should be treated carefully to ensure that there is adequate nutrition, and food should be stored away from exposed fruit, berries and plants.”
Fruitfly eggs are not harmful to people but should be handled carefully, especially if the eggs have been exposed.
“There is no evidence that there are any negative health consequences to eating fruit or berries from fruit flies, but fruit flies may be attracted to the skin or mucous membranes of the fruit and the larvae are attracted to other food items.”
What can I do if I have a fruit fly?
If you are worried about fruit fly symptoms or symptoms of your own illness, call the AFA’s contact centre on 1300 044 939 or visit your local fruit fly control station.