The weird(and disgusting?) reason figs may not be vegan

Fruits are plants so they are vegan right?

Not always

Figs are one of the oldest fruits known to man. Many are familiar with the health benefits of figs or the popular fig newton cookie. I’ve always loved enjoying figs, so I was surprised when I came across a video about dead wasps in fig fruit.

In most species of figs a wasp called a fig wasp plays a big part in the fertilization of the fruit.

Fig wasp
Fig wasp

Many of us are familiar with the process of how bees and wasps pollinate plants, however the fertilization of figs is unique. A pregnant wasp will enter the fruit through a small hole in the base of the fig, typically losing her wings and antennae in the process, she will then lay her eggs in some of the female flowers inside the fig, pollinating the seeds in the process. After this the female fig wasp will die inside the fig. This means that figs will often carry one if not multiple wasp carcasses.

So is in wrong to eat figs?

The process of pollination is natural and would occur without human interference. However there are some articles that claim humans manufacturer this process for mass fruit production. I also found a video that suggests the common figs we find at supermarkets have been modified not to contain seeds and are likely not going to contain wasps. This video also suggests we only eat female fig fruit while wasps only pollinate the male fruit.

There is some possibility for a female wasp to attempt to lay eggs in a female fig and in this case the wasp will most likely suffocate and die inside the fruit anyway.

Regardless of which fruit we eat it is still important to consider if the fig farming process results in cruelty towards the fig wasps. I wasn’t able to find any information about the conditions the wasps are forced to live in during the fig farming process. I did find an article explaining that the wasps are tricked into pollinating figs that they cannot lay eggs in to speed up the figs growth. In this process the wasp frantically flies from fruit to fruit trying to lay eggs until she eventually dies from exhaustion.

Would you still eat figs knowing these facts behind fig farming? I have decided to stay away from the fruit until I can find more definitive information on the process behind fig farming and the treatment of wasps.

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