Our expert says:
It's most unlikely that swallowing a maggot will cause any serious harm. They will almost certainly be destroyed by the gastric acid in your stomach. If people eat food containing maggots, it’s the bacteria in the rotting food that might make them sick, not the maggots.
When the body dies, some of the decomposition process takes place as a result of enzyme action and bacteria already in the body. But it would slow down the process considerably if the body were hermetically sealed, because an important part of the breakdown of the body results from other bacteria and insects (like flies, which lay maggot eggs) arriving from the outside.
We live in friendly harmony with millions of bacteria in our intestinal tract - in fact, we can't survive without them! Most of us have had an intestinal parasite at some point in our lives - these can be very harmful (and we all need to take anti-worm medication occasionally to stay free of them), but a couple of small ones, though undesirable, won't have a noticeable impact on your health. Most of us also have (usually unnoticeable) mites living on or in our skin and hair follicles. And those are just a few examples. But apart from some of the bacteria resident in the body, the larger parasites will either soon leave or die when their host body dies.
Meat and fish bought from reputable sources is unlikely to contain worm eggs. But even if it does, there is a way to destroy the eggs and render them completely harmless: make sure you cook the meat well! There is a risk of swallowing worm eggs in sushi, but it's low - sushi chefs are trained to choose healthy, worm-free fish.
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