Don’t fly off to the media with your larvae – make a mint from your maggots instead

The reputation of maggots has been sullied in the Herald today with another of those stories about pissed-off people finding one of these magnificent creatures in their tucker.

This time we are told of a healthcare worker who was “disgusted” after finding a maggot in her McDonald’s burger box.

Linda MacDonald, a mental health carer, had just finished eating an Angus Burger Combo, which she bought from the Pt Chevalier McDonald’s, when a colleague she shared the burger with pointed out something “wiggling” in the box.

The 59-year-old Auckland grandmother spat out her remaining mouthful and ran to the toilet to throw up.

“It was awful,” she said. “They offered me McDonald’s vouchers, and I told them: ‘No way am I ever going to set foot in there again’. The cheek of it – it’s so wrong.”

But if the maggot did come from there, the woman should have been charged a bit extra because it seems she was getting a nutritional treat.

Alf can tell you, after prodigious research and a visit to the Spluch site –

Each maggot contains 60% protein, 15% fat, but also has some vitamins, and its protein nutritional value is several times higher compared to animal protein.

After the cleansing, deodorization and dehydration processes, the concentrated protein can be used for the production of soy sauce and MSG – which makes it a product with great market value.

McDonald’s NZ boss Mark Hawthorne is saying he does not believe the maggot came from within the restaurant.

Mrs MacDonald, who ate her lunch with several colleagues, nevertheless wants an apology.

She says she cut the burger with a knife when she shared it with her colleague, but is adamant the maggot did not get there then.

While acknowledging there will never be proof either way, she remains upset about the company’s reaction.

After rejecting the McDonald’s vouchers, Mrs MacDonald was sent $100 of Westfield shopping mall vouchers, which she gave to her son.

Hawthorne, on the other hand, is insisting the company had conducted a thorough investigation, which included the restaurant, suppliers of ingredients and independent laboratory testing.

“The larva returned to us was dead, not exposed to heat, and was not associated with the Angus beef patty. It is hard to determine the point of contamination, however, due to the circumstances around the purchase, and in light of the expert advice received and thorough checks completed, we believe it is unlikely to have resulted from McDonald’s.

“At all times during the process we have been empathetic to Ms MacDonald’s concerns, and acted in good faith to keep her informed through the investigation.”

Frankly, Alf believes McDonalds is missing out on a magnificent business opportunity.

A McMaggot burger has a nice ring to it, for marketing purposes.

According to the story Alf found at Spluch, there could be big bucks in it, too.

It’s about a woman in China’s Shandong Province who has set up a breeding farm for flies.

These insects may seem disgusting for most of us, but to Ai Baorong, these are beautiful little “angels”.

Ai Baorong, a Jinan University graduate, was seeking employment in every way after her graduation, but was unsuccessful in finding her ideal job.

A report which mentioned raising bugs to become rich triggered her enormous interest in fly farming.

She then decided to study the techniques to breed insects at Shandong Province agricultural college, and went on to breed flies and worms in her hometown.

Baorong has since started to breed houseflies.

Her insect cultivation base was reported to have a monthly stock of 30 tons of live insects, with customers from Korea and the United Kingdom.

Alf will be chatting with our splendid Agriculture Minister, David Carter, about this and about the possibilities.

He will talk with Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee, too, now that the Government will be spending up to $21 million over the next five years on an initiative to boost the development of new food products for export.

Oh, and medical people don’t use hamburgers to clean up your ulcers. They do use maggots for that purpose.

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