What are these pink-white egg sack/bug p***/I don't know what on my Brussels Sprouts?

I was going through my *pre-washed* brussels sprouts from Whole Foods and I found first one, and then another, sprout with one of these pinkish-whitish little thingies on it. I don't think they themselves are bugs, but more likely some sort of product of them such as an egg sack or excrement, but I don't really know.

Brooklynite
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8 Comments

Lori T. May 3, 2021
I'm sorry to be so late that you likely have discarded the brussel sprouts. I think what you are seeing is the larvae of a cabbage webworm - which are pink. You may be seeing the leftovers after it has pupated. At least it confirms your produce was likely organically grown, or at least few pesticides were used on them. While unsightly, and unappetizing, they are not precisely harmful unless you belong to the cabbage family. They will be primarily limited to the outside few leaves of your sprouts, and the usual cleaning and removal of the outer leaves in prep for cooking will solve your infestation problem. Though produce is marked as pre-washed, that doesn't mean it can remove all the critters, or will do for that matter. That's why you still really should wash, sort and prep your own produce. It won't hurt you to eat them, but most of us prefer our additional protein to be chosen and not incidental.
 
HalfPint May 3, 2021
Agree. Bugs, like cabbage worms and aphids, are a common problem with Brussels sprouts. I would submerge the trimmed sprouts in water for about 10-20 minutes and see if that dislodges most of the bugs and any dirt/sand.
 
Brooklynite May 4, 2021
I actually put them in a gallon bag and put them back in the fridge. Things like this can usually be resolved later. There isn't an infestation. I was manually going through the Brussels sprouts and these were the only two I found (granted I stopped when I found the second one, but I had already gone through around 2/3 of the brussels).

It might be part of a cabbage webworm, but the whole thing looks very different. The closest thing I could find was the first instar of a cabbage looper. Even that doesn't really look like this thing. For one thing, this thing is way to asymetrical to be a complete macro-organism - that makes me thing it's a piece of something, or some sort of excrement. It also occured to me that these could be two totally different things - the second one could even be a close-up of a rough patch of the brussels leaf - and I just got paranoid after the first one.

Unfortunately the reality is that if it weren't for prewashed produce I and my family wouldn't eat a third as much produce as we do. It's just a huge time saver and worth the downsides.
 
Brooklynite May 2, 2021
Texture: I tried to feel the first one, to see what kind of texture it had, but unfortunately I did this while still wearing gloves. It came right off, but I couldn't feel anything through the gloves.

I was smarter for the second one and took my gloves off. This time it was hard, and wouldn't come off. I tried to dig it off with my fingernail, but in the end the exact area of the brussel leaf it was on came with it. That's all I could figure out.

Don't think I'm going to be making Brussels Sprouts tonight unless someone has an explanation for why this stuff is all just a misunderstanding ...
 
Brooklynite May 2, 2021
This the full, un-zoomed/cropped image for the second one of these that I found, to provide scale.
 
Brooklynite May 2, 2021
This is a new one. The photo is taken with the flash, which allows you to see more of the detail, although the color is less reliable. I'll post the full picture of this one since it is a new "bug thing" and a new sprout.
 
Brooklynite May 2, 2021
Same pink thing, taken from the side. To avoid having to post 2x as many comments, I'm only going to post the cropped in clos photos, since the earlier photo already shows the scale.
 
Brooklynite May 2, 2021
This is the same "bug poop", zoomed out for perspective. Unfortunately I can only post one photo per question/comment
 
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