Can You Eat Food That a Cockroach Has Been On? Unveiling the Untold Dangers

The thought of cockroaches in food is sure to give you the creeps. It is an unsettling thought that cockroaches that will tread anywhere and have also passed through your food.

It is not a big deal for most to just remove the cockroach and consume the rest of the food as they would normally. Some might even throw the section of the food they spotted the cockroach and be assured that they have also gotten rid of any germs along with the insect.

But the question is, should you do this? No matter what, cockroaches are carriers of pathogens and germs that might assimilate into your food and cause you health problems.

Can You Eat Food That a Cockroach Has Been On?

Can You Eat Food That a Cockroach Has Been On

No, it is absolutely unsafe to eat food that a cockroach has been on. There are several reasons for this but the most important one that you must remember is that cockroaches do not differentiate between clean and dirty surfaces. They will crawl through anywhere as long as they can get food.

And cockroaches derive nutrition from the unlikeliest sources such as human/animal feces, nails, hair, and also kitchen wastes. So, if a roach travels to your kitchen and creeps on food after having come from the bathroom, should you be eating the food? The answer is obviously no.

How Do You Know If Roaches Have Been In Your Food?

The problem is to know whether your food is being attacked by the roaches or not. Because it is not possible to supervise your pantry 24/7. So, if you see a roach scampering about in your kitchen or near the pantry/fridge, then it is worthwhile to check for roach infestation.

Here are a few signs that your food is under attack:

  • Frequently spotting cockroaches of different sizes near the places where food is stored. Especially during the day.
  • Cockroach droppings in those areas.
  • Bite marks on the plastic wrapping the food.
  • Gaps in the Mouth of the food container or plastic bags.
  • Food crumbs spread around the area.

Is It Safe To Eat Food That A Roach Has Been On?

Is It Safe To Eat Food That A Roach Has Been On

No, it is not safe to eat food that a cockroach has been on because the food is now contaminated. Cockroaches carry a host of bacteria and pathogens on their body and in their droppings. Their droppings contain a chemical that serves as a signal for other cockroaches to indicate the presence of food.

Therefore if a cockroach has been on your food, be sure that it contains insect feces. If you eat it, a stomach problem is imminent. It may seem like a waste to throw away a whole bag of food, especially packaged food but it is a safer option to throw it away than take a chance with it and fall sick later.

The chance of diseases being transmitted is especially more concerning for those living in residences that receive very little sunlight and house a lot of people in a small space.

This groundbreaking study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, delves into the transmission of diseases within low-income flats, specifically examining the impact of living in roach-infested homes on the members’ health.

The research provides invaluable insights into the role of cockroaches as carriers of bacteria in multifamily dwellings, shedding light on the significant health risks faced by individuals residing in these environments.

By analyzing the data collected from various low-income flats, the study uncovers a clear correlation between the presence of cockroaches and the transmission of diseases among the residents. The researchers highlight the dire consequences of living in roach-infested homes, particularly for individuals who are unable to address these infestations effectively.

What To Do If You Find A Cockroach In Your Food?

Imagine this- you are in the middle of enjoying a delicious meal and suddenly discover a cockroach inside your food, probably dead or maybe even alive which scampers off. The latter scenario is very unlikely. What should you do now?

First of all, throw the remainder of the food away immediately. Don’t even try to salvage it. There is no saying how long the roach crawled on your food or how long it has been dead inside. Dead cockroaches release a sort of chemical from their body so there is also that to keep in mind apart from the fact that the food is now uneatable.

Don’t worry, you will survive. You may suffer from a little diarrhea even after throwing the food away so there is no need to get overly worried. You can take an anti-acidic tablet as a precaution.  You should call a doctor and get an expert opinion on the issue.

Oh and if you ordered the food from somewhere make sure to report this to them and avoid ordering from there again.

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What Diseases Do Roaches Carry?

What Diseases Do Roaches Carry

Cockroaches can cause a lot of diseases if their infestation is left unchecked and especially if you find roaches in food but continue to eat it anyway. This goes for both packaged food like snacks and cooked food.

Here is a list of diseases that can be caused d and transmitted by cockroaches:-

  • Salmonellosis
  • Typhoid Fever
  • Cholera
  • Dysentery
  • Plague
  • Listeriosis
  • Campylobacteriosis

Apart from these, cockroaches can also trigger skin allergies in the form of rashes and hive-like bumps on the skin.

People with respiratory diseases should also be careful of these insects because they can create a bad case of triggered asthma allergy.

How To Keep Cockroaches Away From Food?

Where there is food, cockroaches will follow. Unfortunately, there is no way around it if your house suffers from cockroach infestation. But there are some ways by using which you can keep the roaches away:-

Keep the Food Covered

If you are keeping cooked food for someone or yourself inside the fridge or even on the table, make sure it is covered. There are translucent food covers that you can use for this purpose.

You can use plates and dishes but sometimes due to uneven surfaces on these utensils, the coverings aren’t perfect and gaps remain. Cockroaches will find these gaps and use them to climb onto your food if you are not careful.

Neem And Water Solution

Neem is an effective solution to deal with cockroaches as the insects seem to detest the smell of neem. Be it in the form of leaves or the essential oil, all are sure to work on cockroaches.

Take a handful of neem leaves and make a paste out of it. Mix it with water and store the solution in a spray bottle. This homemade spray can be used to keep cockroaches away from places like your pantry or the inside of the refrigerator where you store your food.

Spray it every night for a month to completely drive the cockroaches away.


If you do not wish to spray neem water where you store your food then there is another alternative that you can use.

Slice some cucumbers and store them in a tin jar. The reaction between tin and cut cucumbers emits a smell that cockroaches detest. The smell repels them and they are less likely to approach an area where they can smell this.

Therefore placing a cucumber tin jar inside your fridge can be an effective way to keep cockroaches from attacking your food.

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Final Conclusion

By now, the severity of a cockroach infesting your food must be clear to you now. It is really difficult to control an infestation once it begins so it is always better to take precautions against it.

Thankfully, there are no special precautions that you need to take to keep cockroaches away as these insects are not likely to attack areas that are spotless clean. Yes, unhygienic habits can lead to roaches getting attracted to your kitchen and your food.

Therefore, make sure to always clean your kitchen every day.

Habits such as leaving food crumbs all over the place, leaving waste food along with unwashed utensils in your sink, and keeping the kitchen dustbin uncovered can cause a roach infestation.

Thus, cleaning your kitchen every night with some strong odored solution or soap that repels cockroaches is a good way to combat this problem, in the long term.

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