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Bugs on your strawberries? Don’t worry, they’re harmless

Strawberries are displayed for sale at an outdoor market in Arlington, Va., on May 24, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(CNN) — Bugs crawling on your strawberries? That’s normal, according to some experts, despite a recent TikTok trend that suggests otherwise.

On the popular platform, people have been posting videos of themselves soaking strawberries in salt water for 30 minutes to see whether bugs come out of them.

So far, videos posted by users appear to show maggots, spiders and other bugs crawling in and out of the berries. The results have left users horrified — and shocked. Videos with the hashtag #strawberrybugs have amassed more than 11.8 million views.

If learning about bugs in your berries made you lose your appetite, you’re not alone. But the truth of the matter, some experts say, is these bugs are harmless, and they most likely exist on all your favorite fruits and vegetables.

“If you’re eating fresh produce, you’re eating bugs,” Greg Loeb, an entomologist and professor at Cornell University, told CNN. “Sometimes we entomologists joke that, hey, it’s just a little bit more protein.”

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You’ve eaten them before and even soaking your fruits in salt water won’t mean you’ll never swallow a bug again, Loeb, said — and that’s totally OK.

“But the real point is there are organisms on your fruit and even if it makes people uncomfortable, it’s definitely not going to hurt them. Eating those bugs won’t make you sick.”

Most of these bugs live on the outside of the fruit, and made their way to your strawberries at some point on their journey from the field to your local fruit stand or grocery store aisle.

When it comes to the safest way to wash your fruits and vegetables, Loeb said using water should be enough. By the time you eat your strawberries, the only bugs you’ll ingest are the tiny ones that you wouldn’t even notice.

So next time you take a bite out of your strawberry, try to ignore what else you might be chewing on.

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