Farming Insects

Entomophagy is “the human consumption of insects and arachnids as food” according to Entomophagy.com. Now don’t get squeamish, but this may very well be the future for feeding the world. Did you know that there are an estimated 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects (about 900,000 species) on the planet according to Smithsonian Information? That seems like a wonderfully massive untapped source of animal protein that would be valuable for feeding the world’s growing population. Even with today’s current food production technology, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to feed our exploding population. Producing the kind of protein that we need using animals like cows, chickens, and pigs is resource intensive and problematic, and many scientists believe that entomophagy will play an increasingly important role in keeping up with this task. In fact, countries in Central America, South America, Africa, Australia, and Asia have long since made insects an integral part of their diets. All that is left is for North America and Europe to join them. Did you know that we already consume trace amounts of insects in our food (theFDA states that “it is economically impractical to grow, harvest, or process raw products that are totally free of non-hazardous, naturally occurring, unavoidable defects” which includes insect parts)? Additionally, if we start to look at insects as the “shrimp” of the land (insects, shrimp, lobsters, and crab are all a part of a group or phylum called arthropods), maybe we can learn to get over our aversion and start including them as a part of our diets. (FYI – there are actually a few restaurants in the United States that serve insects, but they are obviously not commonplace).

 

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