Bugged by Berries: Should TikTok’s viral berry bug video turn you off from delicious fruit?

With the rise of social media, consumers are being exposed to new trends in fashion and nutrition, fact-based content and, unfortunately, misinformation. This can leave consumers wondering what is real and what is fake. A recent viral TikTok video showed microscopic bugs being released from strawberries while undergoing a saltwater bath. While this video may seem alarming to the some, it does not raise alarms for agriculturalists, researchers, dietitians or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


To answer the question on everyone’s mind – are these videos real, do strawberries have bugs? While it’s challenging to track down the origins or validity of these videos, it is true that microscopic bugs can exist on strawberries and many other fruits. Now for the follow-up question, should we be concerned?


No, not when it comes to eating delicious strawberries. California’s family-owned strawberry farmers produce 90 percent of America’s strawberries and take exceptional care in providing a safe and reliable fruit. All California strawberry farms, whether organic or conventional, integrate organic farming methods into their growing practices. One example includes the release of ladybugs and other beneficial insects in the field to eat pests. Other examples include planting border crops to attract beneficial insects and driving mechanical bug vacuums through the fields to suck up harmful bugs from the plants.


“The microscopic insects seen in these videos have no impact on human health,” said Leah Sarris, MS, RDN and consultant to the California Strawberry Commission. “With proper food handling and refrigeration of fresh strawberries, the growth of these insects is stopped.”


Strawberries are a raw, whole food that provides the body with many beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, potassium, folate and antioxidants. These delicious, nutritious berries are grown in the California sunshine with careful hands from farmers who have a commitment to their community, their consumers and the environment.


We advise following the USDA Safe Food Handling and Preparation guidelines which include washing and storing all foods at the proper temperatures. When buying fresh California strawberries, look for berries with a bright red color, a natural shine and fresh-looking green caps.