Skip to comments.Insect diet may be the solution for a hungry world
Posted on 08/17/2011 11:49:39 PM PDT by bruinbirdman
Mexicans eat deep-fried grasshoppers. Japanese love wasp cookies. Leafcutter ants are considered a delicacy in Colombia, as are some caterpillars in South Africa. And in Thailand people cook everything from water beetles to bamboo worms. Even though eating insects has often been dismissed as a cultural eccentricity, it might soon become one of the answers to pressing global problems like hunger and environmental destruction.
As disgusting as the idea of eating insects may be for many, the reality is that eating insects, or entomophagy, is practised in more than half the countries in the world. There are an estimated 1,462 species of edible insects in the world, ranging from beetles, dragonflies and crickets to ant eggs and butterfly larvae, according to research by Wageningen University in the Netherlands. More than 250 species are eaten in Mexico alone.
But more than tasty snacks, insects could become a protein-rich, green and global source of food, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The FAO says the projected growth of the worlds population around 2.3 billion more people by 2050 will require a significant increase in food production. As a result, demand for livestock is expected to double during the next four decades. However, almost 70% of the land in use for agriculture in the world is for livestock, meaning that the need for more grazing land would bring further deforestation. Agriculture also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and puts a strain on valuable resources like water. Finding alternative protein sources other than livestock is therefore crucial.
Insect vendors in Thailand
The FAO and scientists around the world are suggesting that insects could be a serious alternative. To begin with, insects have about the same nutritional value as beef, chicken or fish. They are easily raised in a sustainable way, since they require less land and water than cows, pigs or goats. They also reproduce at a quicker pace than mammals. What's more, people in developing countries can harvest them without owning vast properties of land or making huge financial investments.
Currently the FAO is promoting sustainable cricket farms in Laos. Meanwhile, in the United States and Europe, a small but growing number of chefs and foodies are praising the benefits of eating insects and some grocery stores like Sligro in the Netherlands have begun marketing them.
Daniella Martin .
Insects are not just an alternative source of food, but theyre superior in many ways
Danielle Martin is a foodie and insect lover. She posts gourmet insect recipes on her blog Girl Meets Bug and hosts insect cook-offs in museums and schools across the United States.
I first encountered edible insects in Mexico, when I bought a packet of chapulines [deep-fried grasshoppers.] I remember being suddenly surrounded by a group of children that wanted to eat them right off the table. It really struck me that entomophagy was very much alive.
Since eating insects is so unusual in the U.S., people mainly come to my presentations out of curiosity. There is a sensational aspect to it: they basically want to see the girl eating the bugs. But as they are watching and it smells like regular food to them, there is a moment of realization that bugs can be good.
This was the topic I chose for the persuasive speech in my college speech class. ;-)
The UN probably discusses this over steak and lobster.
Lobster is my kind of arthropod.
If true, I can live the rest of my life on the grasshoppers devouring what is left of my drought plagued yard.
lol! Boy can I relate o that statement.
I think I read this in Reader’s Digest back in ‘55.
. . . which Biblical figure ate locusts and wild honey?
The only insects I would be willing to try are the ones that eat plant material.
I would not touch anything else.
I ate bugs in Chiapas.
Lil Bastuhds didn... say nuthin....
tasted like lemon..
Probably cuz they wuz soaked in Limon.
But, nothing happened, except I wuz full....
We could feed the world (US and Canada production) if the EPA and big Gov just got the hell out of the pockets of .... or just out of the way.
John the Baptist.
Crawfish/Mudbugs.... Not crustaceans. Insects.
My thoughts exactly, government needs to end useless regulation of farms, such as the dolts in CA who shut off the water supply to save a frickin’ smelt that isn’t even native to the waters.
They say ants taste like chicken. My sister ate one when she was 8 years old, and she can testify that this is indeed true.
Off the record, there are very few inedible animals. Those that are are mainly too hard/bony/lacking enough flesh or else poisonous.
I dunno; but the locust was the only clean insect in the Mosaic Law. Why? Because it’s an important source of protein for Bedouin nomads.