You know those little preservative packets in food and shoe boxes? They’re desiccant packets. But I’ve always called them Do Not Eat packets.
Ever wonder what happens if you consume a Do Not Eat packet?
It’s not really something I ever gave much thought to, personally. Until last Sunday.
The thing is, I may have accidentally eaten one.
You’re probably wondering how that’s even possible. Either you ate it or you didn’t, right?
Believe me, I’m still scratching my head on this one, too.
It all started innocently enough.
I was ravenous, so I bought a bag of freeze dried Fuji apples to devour on my drive home from work. I don’t even know how I lasted from my lunch break until the end of my shift without passing out and landing flat on my face.
Anyway, apples are supposedly good for you, so it seemed like a smart choice.
Shoveling handfuls of apples into my mouth, I found myself backed up in traffic near a busy mall about 10 minutes into my drive home.
Figuring I had a minute or so to pass while sitting at a red light, I turned over the bag to read the nutrition facts.
What can I say? I’m crazy like that.
It was a single serving bag, which was great, because the thing felt surprisingly close to empty already.
The ingredients were simple enough: freeze dried apples, ascorbic acid and citric acid.
Not bad at all.
And 220% of vitamin C per serving.
Whew! That ought to ward off any threat of scurvy.
More importantly, it was made in the USA.
After all, if I wanted to eat a toxic Chinese import, I’d eat a box of so-called “non-toxic” crayons.
Or one of those questionable McDonald’s toys with 500 microscopic parts. On second thought, those toxic little toys could also lead to asphyxiation.
Disturbingly enough, those aren’t not the only things that could present a safety hazard.
Further down on the apple bag was a warning.
It was just some nonsense about a desiccant packet.
Yada yada yada.
Hey, wait a minute…
The Do Not Eat packet! Where the hell was the Do Not Eat packet?!?
Still sitting in an endless line of traffic, I dared a hasty peek into the bag.
There was hardly anything left in it. Mostly crumbs, really.
And no sign of the distressing packet.
Maybe they had forgotten to put one in this package?
Could I seriously have just eaten the stupid thing? I mean, really?
I can only assume it’d be like eating a packet of sugar. So how would I have missed that? Even among a generous fistful of apples, surely I’d have noticed a difference in texture or flavor.
Especially once biting into the packet and unleashing sand-like particles.
Were my senses that off? Were my standards that low?
And I may very well have reached a new low with this dilemma.
You might think I’d have been more concerned for my safety. After all, I could have ingested a potentially hazardous substance, for all I knew.
Yet, I found the whole thing mildly amusing. Did this kind of stuff actually happen to other people? Or was it truly just me?
By this point, I’m pretty well convinced it’s just me.
When I arrived home 20 minutes later, I Googled “accidental ingestion of desiccant packet,” which immediately directed me to the poison control website.
The information was surprisingly reassuring. Apparently, one can safely scarf down the equivalent of an entire shoebox-worth of those packets and likely only experience stomach discomfort.
Okay, I can (almost) understand accidentally wolfing down one of those suckers, but who would unknowingly devour a whole box of that crap?
A dog, maybe? One with lower standards than me, perhaps?
Continuing on with my online self-diagnostics, I grabbed a couple of mini blueberry muffins. I still needed a little more reassurance, so I decided to test out a theory.
Leaving the wrappers intact, I made a simulated attempt at eating a muffin, wrapper and all. Would I notice when I bit into a chunk of the thin paper?
Would I? I was genuinely intrigued now.
I immediately noticed the texture difference between the yummy moist muffin and the bland little paper. But then, I also wasn’t distracted the same way I had been while driving.
I still wasn’t convinced.
When I ended up at a restaurant for dinner a few days later, the tray of sugar packets caught my eye.
I swiped one and shoved it in my purse.
I figured I might have to test something out a little later, just for kicks.
And test it out I did. Let’s just say I didn’t get too far with that one.
The paper had the consistency of loose leaf notebook paper, and the sugar felt like grains of sand.
There was no mistaking a foreign substance’s assault on my palate.
Even so, a Do Not Eat packet was still definitely smaller than and not quite as grainy as a packet of sugar.
I swear, distracted eating is as hazardous as driving in your sleep.
Whether I did or did not eat the desiccant packet remains a mystery. But the fact is I’ve lasted a good part of the week since that incident, and I’m still more or less okay.