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Here's What Really Happens When A Fly Lands On Your Food And It's Worse Than You Thought

National Archives at College Park [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

At least once in our lives we've all wondered about what actually happens when a fly lands on our food.

This thought often comes after the insect comes into contact with something we're eating or drinking and would really like to not throw out.

Of course, it's no secret that flies carry nasty germs that can cause us to become ill, but how does it actually happen?

Virvoreanu-Laurentiu / pixabay

There's a misconception that flies only transmit disease-causing germs to a surface they land on because their legs have previously touched another dirty area.

The truth is that while they do contaminate your food, the process happens in a different and even nastier fashion.

Flies have no teeth, so they eat by sucking fluids through their nose. When they land on solid food they vomit their saliva on it to liquefy it, so they can drink it.

As we're already aware, flies eat everything and anything, so when they regurgitate, they're introducing harmful bacteria from gross things like feces and rotten meat to your food.

"House flies are the movers of any disgusting pathogenic microorganism you can think of," Jeff Scott, an entomologist at Cornell University, told the Daily Mail. "Anything that comes out of an animal, such as bacteria and viruses, house flies can take from that waste and deposit on your sandwich."

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While they're sipping and slurping your food, these pesky insects can transmit over 100 different diseases and parasites, including Salmonella, tuberculosis, and cholera.

However, there is another way really disgusting way in which flies can contaminate your food.

If you leave food unattended for sometime, it's best to really examine it before you eat it for a another reason.

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In addition to contaminating your meal with pathogens and their liquefying juices, flies poop and lay eggs in your food.

Usually this occurs when you let it sit out for more than a day or two, which is why you tend to notice maggots on old food, rotten carcasses, and garbage bins.

You shouldn't worry too much about a pregnant fly coming to your dinner table and laying eggs on your meal, but there have been instances in which flies have done just that.

So should you immediately throw away food that a fly lands on?

According to the results of a study at Penn State Eberly College of Science, if you want some peace of mind, you should probably chuck it.

Chances are, if a fly lands on food you're eating, you shoo them away quickly, so it probably doesn't have enough time to throw up on it. But researchers founds that their tiny legs are still capable of introducing bacteria to your food.

This is a reminder to always keep food covered, even if you don't often get flies in your home. These nasty bugs are sneaky and are always lurking around for their next meal.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.