Image courtesy of newglobalcitizen.com
A daily chore for me as a child was catching food for my reptiles which consisted of mostly insects. Perhaps this was the reason I had no hesitation to eat insects when I discovered entomophagy, the consumption of insects. My pet reptiles seemed to really enjoy them, so why wouldn’t I?
And I’m not the only one.
Many countries around the world are considered entomophagous and include 36 countries in Africa, 23 in the Americas, 29 in Asia, and 11 in Europe.
But why exactly do people eat insects and what are the benefits?
Insects are sometimes the pests of crops and some Israelis are making the best out of a plague of locusts by eating them. Insects are very nutritious and are high in protein, essential fatty acids, and micro-nutrients. Because they are cold blooded, they exert less energy and consume less feed. Insects also need little water and can reproduce much faster than conventional livestock. Raising conventional livestock accounts for 18% of all greenhouse gases and it’s estimated that house crickets are twenty times more efficient as a protein source than cattle.
It is because of the many benefits of cultivating insects in place of conventional livestock that the UN released a report pushing insects for food security and the FASFC have made food safety guidelines for insects intended to be used for human consumption. People like Ireland’s Tara Elliot are establishing commercial insect rearing operations for human and livestock feed.
The way things are going in other countries, soon insects may be a normalcy even in the United States.