Tuesday, May 14, 2013

U.N. Says We Ought To Eat Insects To Fight Famine

The Human Diet

Insect snacks are a common sight in many Asian nations, as shown by this street vendor’s food choices, in such places as Bangkok, Thailand.
Photo Credit & Source: The Register
An article, by William Clarke, in The Telegraph says that the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) recommends that humans ought to consider eating bugs as a way to combat world famine.

Clarke writes:
The 200-page report, released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, on May 13 at the organisation's Rome headquarters, called for restaurants, chefs and food writers to promote the eating of insects, in a bid to fight world hunger and global warming."Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly," the FAO said, adding they leave a "low environmental footprint."

They provide high-quality protein and nutrients when compared with meat and fish and are "particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children".Insects are "extremely efficient" in turning feed into edible meat, converting feed mass into meat four times more effectively than cows. The report suggests this would allow food to be produced more cheaply, with fewer emissions. Insects are high in protein, and can also be rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.

Entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, has a long history, and is currently practised by two billion people world wide. The report counts around a thousand edible insect species, from the small grasshoppers served "toasted in a little oil with garlic, lemon and salt" on the streets of Oaxaca, to the fly eggs, gathered from stagnant water, that Montezuma enjoyed for breakfast, which the report optimistically terms "Mexican caviar".
This will be a hard sell in the west, which has not seen the necessity of eating insects. Food is still plentiful here, and short of natural disasters, it is hard to see how insects will become a part of our regular diet. Some groups have certain dietary restrictions, such as observant Jews who observe the laws of Moses. But locusts, or grasshoppers, are allowed within the confines of kashrut, or the laws of kosher foods. Even so, I am not inclined to eat any insect, under any circumstances. I suspect that my culinary instincts are shared by many. Or perhaps not.

You can read the rest of the article at [The Telegraph]