Allowable Defects


Do you have any idea what’s in your food?  I mean what’s really in there?  Believe it or not, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) actually has a portion of their handbook subtitled, “Food Defect Action Levels: Levels of Natural or Unavoidable Defects in Foods That Present No Health Hazards for Humans.”  Yes that’s right!  The FDA has a standard for allowable defects for the foods you eat every day. If you’re eating right now, I suggest you put the food away!

  • Canned mushrooms are allowed to contain up to 20 maggots of any size per 100 grams.
  • Apples are permitted to contain up to 11% of mold.
  • Peanut butter may have an average of one rodent hair per 100 grams.
  • Tomato sauce may include no more than 15 fruit fly eggs per 100 grams.

First, let me apologize for ruining your appetite. These are just a fragment of the disgusting things that may be in our food. I imagine this knowledge has left you feeling a tad bit distraught. But let me ask a more serious question.

Do you treat sin that way too?

Be honest, because disregarding sin is easy to do. It’s easy to rationalize and justify the amount of sin we have in our lives. It’s simple to compare our measly little sins to those big ones everyone else commits and put ourselves on a pedestal for being so much more righteous. We’re asking the wrong question if we’re asking, “How much sin can I have in my life before God gets really upset?”

The scary part is that we ultimately fool ourselves. We eventually become so ensnared by our own sin that we refuse to call it sin anymore (Isaiah 5:20). True and genuine repentance no longer holds a place in our life. We just blindly accept a certain amount of defects as “natural and unavoidable.”  Just like the FDA, we have settled for less than the best.

We must remind ourselves daily of the promise of Jesus. “The theif comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).  He doesn’t want to see us so mired in mistakes that we fail to notice them anymore. He offers an unexplainable gift when we humble ourselves in regards to the sin in our lives. “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20a).


11 thoughts on “Allowable Defects

  1. To be fair… not to disagree with your point… “allowable” does not actually mean those things are necessarily present. Just saying. From another perspective, just think of what it was like before 1914! THAT was scary!

  2. I can’t help but think of that chocolate pie in The Help. Not just that, but the difficulty I’ve had recently talking to some teenagers about their music choices. “But we don’t care about the words- the music and the beat are so cool!” They don’t see what I do – those words that they “don’t listen to” are having a big impact on their behavior. Thank you for this analogy!

    1. Joe Butler

      I have to admit I’ve been in that boat myself. I used to listen to heavy rock music and blew it off because I liked the fast pace and the guitar riffs. It wasn’t until I looked at the way I spoke myself and realized that I could trace my poor choice of language back to the music I listened to. We’re really good at justifying the behavior we want to get away with but criticizing the poor choices of others and we allow a certain level of sin into our lives as acceptable when we know in our heart that it’s not. That’s why we have to look out for each other and self-examine constantly to be sure we’re walking in a holy manner.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading and thanks for the insightful comment. God bless.

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