BUG BOUNTY: Google Served Mealworm Pizza in Its Cafeteria

One of the internet giant's hackers called it: “Pizza La Bughuntero.“
Image: Svbl

On Friday, Motherboard revealed that Apple used to have a controversial Hawaiian pizza on the company’s cafeteria’s menu for $7.

Understandably, the internet (mostly the .it part of it) was horrified. But Google may have outdone its competitor by offering a pizza topped with mealworms, Motherboard has learned.

In March 2018, at its office in Zurich, Switzerland, Google served pizza with traditional ingredients such as tomato sauce, cheese, and arugula, and a more unusual one: mealworms, according to multiple Google employees with direct knowledge of the cafeteria’s menu offerings.


“They are a great alternative to meat ;),” said a former Google employee who goes by Svbl.

Startups and environmental activists have been pushing for people to eat mealworms, saying they are not just good for the planet, but also as nutritious and tasty as shrimp.

“I do think they overdid it though, you shouldn't cover the whole thing in worms, half of that would've been sufficient as well and also not make up the primary taste,” Svbl, who said he ate the special and “delicious“ pizza, told Motherboard in an online chat.

Do you work at Google’s cafeterias or in another tech company's kitchen? We'd love to hear from you. Using a non-work phone or computer, you can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, OTR chat at lorenzofb@jabber.ccc.de, or email lorenzofb@vice.com.

Not everyone was that excited about the unusual topping though.

“One of the many spine-chilling things that have passed through here, part of the wonderful trend of putting whatever trash on the pizza, and on the rest, pesto :p,” said a Google employee who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Another employee, who did not want to be named as well, said that the “the feedback was awful enough that they didn’t repeat the experiment.”

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

At least the pizza was free. At Apple, pizzas cost between $7 and $8 in Cupertino, depending on the ingredients, and 5 euros at the company’s campus in Ireland.

Svbl, who is a security researcher, nicknamed it the “Pizza La Bughuntero”—a play on an informal name to refer to researchers who find vulnerabilities in software, or bug hunters.

“I don't remember this name, but we certainly made jokes about doing our first bug report of a pizza ;),” another Google employee said.

Perhaps they should’ve named it after software with too many bugs, like “Java,” “Flash,” or—wait—“Android.”