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Insects as Human Food


GGreen
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If I knew this before becoming vegan, I would have probably ate some insects. But, we do anyways we just don't notice them in our food.

 

 

Ohio State University

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2160.html

 

 

Insects as Human Food

(Microlivestock)

HYG-2160-96

William F. Lyon

 

The January 2, 1996 Wall Street Journal reported on a "small energetic group of entomologists, farmers and chefs" who are promoting edible insects, a foodstuff better known in academic circles as "Microlivestock."

 

Entomophagy (the eating of insects) has yet to become a day-to-day activity for most people in the United States and Europe in spite of the superior nutritional content of edible insects compared to other animals. Other cultures around the world have made insects a main ingredient in their diets, providing an excellent source of protein. Insects are an inexpensive substitute for meat in many developing countries.

 

In Mexico, grasshoppers and other edible insects are sold by the pound in village markets and are fried before being eaten. Many are sold in cans as fried grasshoppers, chocolate covered ants, etc. Tortillas are served with red and white agave worms in many Mexico city restaurants.

 

Columbian citizens enjoy eating a variety of insects such as termites, palm grubs and ants. Ants are ground up and used as a spread on breads.

 

Popular insects eaten in the Phillippines are June beetles, grasshoppers, ants, mole crickets, water beetles, katydids, locusts and dragonfly larvae. They can be fried, broiled or sauteed with vegetables.

 

In parts of Africa, ants, termites, beetle grubs, caterpillars and grasshoppers are eaten. Some insects such as termites are eaten raw soon after catching, while others are baked or fried before eating.

 

The giant waterbug roasted and eaten whole is a favorite food in Asia. It is easily collected around lights at night around bodies of water.

 

Sago grubs are popular for cooks in Papua New Guinea, most often boiled or roasted over an open fire.

 

Other edible insects eaten in this country include larvae of moths, wasps, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, adult grasshoppers, cicadas, stick insects, moths and crickets.

 

In the United States, some restaurants (Washington, DC) are incorporating insects into their recipe books and menus. On the menu are interesting dishes such as stir-fried mealworms and caterpillar crunch (a combination of trail mix and fried caterpillars). Insects can be substituted for everyday recipe ingredients. Tom Turpin, Professor of Entomology at Purdue University enjoys "chocolate chirpy chips" which is a variation of chocolate chip cookies. He uses the chocolate chip cookie recipe but adds roasted crickets to the cookie dough before baking. The cricket's wings and legs are removed before roasting.

 

Most American insect recipes are based on limited types of insects easily purchased from supply companies, pet stores or bait shops. Ants, crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms are the most common insects used for cooking. Over 1,000 insect species are eaten by humans world wide. Not all insects are edible. Some insects are toxic and may create allergy problems. Use only species mentioned in this Entomology fact sheet.

 

Along with nutrition comes the added benefit of good taste. Doug Whitman, Entomologist at Illinois State University, enjoys eating raw yellowjacket larvae which have a sweet, nutty flavor. Gene R. DeFoliart, retired Entomologist at the University of Wisconsin, prefers the greater wax moth larvae (deep-fried will melt in your mouth, tasting like bacon) and crickets deep-fried have a crunchy, tangy flavor. He feels the honey bee has a good chance of becoming an American bug food. A pound of honey bees is about 3,500 bees. They can be put in an oven at low heat for eight hours and then used in flour for cookies. Some feel insect popcorn, using crickets, would be a new theater treat.

 

Most insects are cheap, tasty and a good natural protein source requiring less land and feed than raising cows or pigs. Many insects are far cleaner than other creatures. For example, grasshoppers and crickets eat fresh, clean, green plants whereas crabs, lobsters and catfish eat any kind of foul, decomposing material as a scavenger (bottom water feeder).

 

By weight, termites, grasshoppers, caterpillars, weevils, house flies and spiders are better sources of protein than beef, chicken, pork or lamb according to the Entomological Society of America. Also, insects are low in cholesterol and low in fat.

 

If Americans could tolerate more insects (bugs) in what they eat, farmers could significantly reduce the amount of pesticides applied each year. It is better to eat more insects and less pesticide residue. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration would relax the limit for insects and their parts (double the allowance) in food crops, U.S. farmers could significantly apply less pesticide each year. Fifty years ago, it was common for an apple to have worms inside, bean pods with beetle bites and cabbage with worm eaten leaves. Most Americans don't realize that they are probably already eating a pound or two of insects each year. One cannot see them, since they have been ground up into tiny pieces in such items as strawberry jams, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, frozen chopped broccoli, etc. Actually, these insect parts make some food products more nutritious. An issue of the Food Insects Newsletter reports that 80 percent of the world's population eats insects intentionally and 100 percent eat them unintentionally.

 

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Most Americans don't realize that they are probably already eating a pound or two of insects each year. One cannot see them, since they have been ground up into tiny pieces in such items as strawberry jams, peanut butter, spaghetti sauce, applesauce, frozen chopped broccoli, etc. Actually, these insect parts make some food products more nutritious.

 

I have not doubt that we get insects in our food, but two pounds per year seems unlikely. As for making food more nutritious, also unlikely considering the miniscule amount in a few processed foods.

 

This story reminds me of the people I work with going on and on yesterday about how disguisting it is to eat pig brains and cow tongues etc. I'm sure they would have a similar reaction to insects. But, eating somethings legs, ass, wings, ribs etc. is a-okay! Morons!

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I've read that the average person swallows around 20 insects a year in their sleep.

 

are you for real? so, we're not vegans then.. if that's true..lol

 

i remember once ( years ago ) when i was eating coconut, i accidently ate some ants because i didn't know they were there.. perhaps that's exactly what happen with other primates.

 

i kinda agree that eating insects might be better than some animals people eat, but still, i'm not going to eat insects.. i don't find it necessary.

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I have no ethical concern with humans eating insects the same way as I have no problem with wild snakes eating mice. I think we're supposed to eat them but they are the only animals we should be eating. I wouldn't do it for my own reasons but I'd have no problem with it so long as they aren't farmed and they are just collected.

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I have no ethical concern with humans eating insects the same way as I have no problem with wild snakes eating mice. I think we're supposed to eat them but they are the only animals we should be eating. I wouldn't do it for my own reasons but I'd have no problem with it so long as they aren't farmed and they are just collected.

 

I agree with you completely on this. I also wouldn't eat them for my own reasons, but it is perfectly natural for people to eat them, so I wouldn't have a problem with others eating them. So long as like you said, they are only collected.

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are you for real? so, we're not vegans then.. if that's true..lol

 

i remember once ( years ago ) when i was eating coconut, i accidently ate some ants because i didn't know they were there.. perhaps that's exactly what happen with other primates.

 

I don't think accidental ingestion counts. (Besides, it's more like suicide if one flies and crawls in your mouth while you're sleeping: quite a few of the ingested critters are supposedly spiders!)

 

Years ago, when I was living in France for a year, I was eating some hazel nuts (they are as easy to find as peanuts in the US) I bought at a farmers' market, and after eating a half dozen of them or so, I happened to break one in half and look at it. Right in the heart of the nut there was a little white worm all curled up. Who knows how many of the nuts I'd already eaten had them in? I could eat any more, and in fact I couldn't eat hazelnuts after than for a couple of years!

 

Warning: those little white worms also like to curl up in raspberries (if you pick them in the wild, be sure to check!)

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Yes I don't think accidental counts otherwise I'd be one of the worst vegans on earth...as with any other cyclist(especially mountain bikers). In the summer atleast 3 bugs wind up in my mouth while I ride(sometimes more if I ride in a swarm of gnats)...luckily I've gotten good at saving them. A lot of times I can gently remove them from my tongue and send them off to safety.

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Yes I don't think accidental counts otherwise I'd be one of the worst vegans on earth...as with any other cyclist(especially mountain bikers). In the summer atleast 3 bugs wind up in my mouth while I ride(sometimes more if I ride in a swarm of gnats)...luckily I've gotten good at saving them. A lot of times I can gently remove them from my tongue and send them off to safety.

 

hahaha, hilarious! lol

 

 

well, that explains a lot, now, doesn't it? B12?

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Yes...I can imagine many of those gnats having there way with all the deer dung before they work there way into my mouth...well I shouldn't imagine that but I know thats what they do

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I don't think that just because something is natural, it therefore isn't an ethical problem. Starvation and disease are natural, that doesn't mean that there isn't an ethical problem with them. Eating insects is cruel and unnecessary, even if they did used to be part of our natural diet. But I would agree that it's likely that insects were part of our natural diet, humans would have been able to catch them easily.

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I've read that gorillas have been observed gently removing insects from folliage before eating it.

 

I agree: just because something may be natural, or was done in the past, doesn't mean we should do it now. If it were a choice between starving or eating some bugs, then I'd say, eat the bugs. But one is very rarely faced with that choice.

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I've read that gorillas have been observed gently removing insects from folliage before eating it.

 

I agree: just because something may be natural, or was done in the past, doesn't mean we should do it now. If it were a choice between starving or eating some bugs, then I'd say, eat the bugs. But one is very rarely faced with that choice.

 

unless by accident.

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I don't think that just because something is natural, it therefore isn't an ethical problem. Starvation and disease are natural, that doesn't mean that there isn't an ethical problem with them. Eating insects is cruel and unnecessary, even if they did used to be part of our natural diet. But I would agree that it's likely that insects were part of our natural diet, humans would have been able to catch them easily.

 

I think forced starvation is natural in the case of drought or flooding but not in the case of people stealing food from others...its not unethical for someone to starve to death if they live somewhere and food all of a sudden isn't available...its natural bad luck. Just like dying in a tsunami...its not unethical...its a natural cause the plain sucks. I don't see it as an unethical thing for a wolf to eat a rabbit if thats what he was designed to do...even if he/she could live off of fruits

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I don't think that just because something is natural, it therefore isn't an ethical problem. Starvation and disease are natural, that doesn't mean that there isn't an ethical problem with them. Eating insects is cruel and unnecessary, even if they did used to be part of our natural diet. But I would agree that it's likely that insects were part of our natural diet, humans would have been able to catch them easily.

 

I think forced starvation is natural in the case of drought or flooding but not in the case of people stealing food from others...its not unethical for someone to starve to death if they live somewhere and food all of a sudden isn't available...its natural bad luck. Just like dying in a tsunami...its not unethical...its a natural cause the plain sucks. I don't see it as an unethical thing for a wolf to eat a rabbit if thats what he was designed to do...even if he/she could live off of fruits

 

Yeah, I didn't mean people forcing other people to starve. What I meant was that people don't look at a natural disaster and think 'well, that's just nature, I'll leave it to it'. People try to help out because it sucks to be killed.

 

However, there are other natural practices which humans are capable of, but choose not to do. Are you really saying that everything which happens in the wild, or everything which is natural should take place?

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I'm not saying it should take place but I'm not saying it shouldn't...some beings only have one way to live and I also think nature destroys things with the purpose of those places rebuilding

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I'm not saying it should take place but I'm not saying it shouldn't...some beings only have one way to live and I also think nature destroys things with the purpose of those places rebuilding

 

you're not saying it should or shouldn't, but you are saying that it's okay to happen. To me, it's the same as saying that it's okay to eat any other animal. Humans have a choice of what to eat, and so deciding to eat an animal (insect or otherwise) is a cruel and selfish decision, as there are plenty of other things to eat. If someone lives in insect land where there are no plants that can be digested and the only thing which can be digested is insects, then I'd understand eating them then, and I'd say that's okay, although unfortunate for the insects.

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Yeah, now that I think about it, I wouldn't be okay with other people eating insects. When I first responded, I thought "Well, it's natural, but I wouldn't do it because I think it is immoral and unnecessary." That doesn't really make sense for me to be accepting of other people doing it. That kind of thinking sort of goes against my main reasons for being vegan.

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you're not saying it should or shouldn't, but you are saying that it's okay to happen. To me, it's the same as saying that it's okay to eat any other animal. Humans have a choice of what to eat, and so deciding to eat an animal (insect or otherwise) is a cruel and selfish decision, as there are plenty of other things to eat. If someone lives in insect land where there are no plants that can be digested and the only thing which can be digested is insects, then I'd understand eating them then, and I'd say that's okay, although unfortunate for the insects.

 

There are other things for Koala's to eat other than eucalyptus leaves which are running low thanks to people but they aid in the destruction of the trees since there are so many left...I don't see what they are doing as an ethical problem since they would rather starve than eat something else just as nutritious

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