UN urges people to eat insects to fight world hunger

 
Bug salad Over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects

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Eating more insects could help fight world hunger, according to a new UN report.

The report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that eating insects could help boost nutrition and reduce pollution.

It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.

However it admits that "consumer disgust" remains a large barrier in many Western countries.

Insect nutritional value /100g

Food source Protein (g) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg)

Source: Montana State University

Caterpillar

28.2

n/a

35.5

Grasshopper

20.6

35.2

5

Dung beetle

17.2

30.9

7.7

Minced beef

27.4

n/a

3.5

Wasps, beetles and other insects are currently "underutilised" as food for people and livestock, the report says. Insect farming is "one of the many ways to address food and feed security".

"Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly, and they have high growth and feed conversion rates and a low environmental footprint," according to the report.

Nutritional value

The authors point out that insects are nutritious, with high protein, fat and mineral content.

They are "particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children".

Insects are also "extremely efficient" in converting feed into edible meat. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle to produce the same amount of protein, according to the report.

Most insects are are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases than other livestock.

The ammonia emissions associated with insect-rearing are far lower than those linked to conventional livestock such as pigs, says the report.

Delicacies
A festival-goers enjoys an 'insects pizza' at one of the many food stalls during the 34th edition of the Paleo festival on July 22, 2009 in Nyon. The report calls for insect dishes to be added to restaurant menus

Insects are regularly eaten by many of the world's population, but the thought may seem shocking to many Westerners.

The report suggests that the food industry could help in "raising the status of insects" by including them in new recipes and adding them to restaurant menus.

It goes on to note that in some places, certain insects are considered delicacies.

For example some caterpillars in southern Africa are seen as luxuries and command high prices.

Most edible insects are gathered in forests and serve niche markets, the report states.

It calls for improved regulation and production for using insects as feed.

"The use of insects on a large scale as a feed ingredient is technically feasible, and established companies in various parts of the world are already leading the way," it adds.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 742.

    Just get rid of people, no more food worries for all the other species then.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 741.

    I just paid a pest control company to eradicate this "food source" from my house last week!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 740.

    735.Exodar
    "there comes a point where we can't match demand."

    Wrong. wrong and wrong. Productivity is key to reaching demand. An unproductive population creates the endless cycle of poverty. Population has NOTHING to do with it. There are countries with small populations that are very poor. We have the technology to collect all the energy we need by installing a giant solar panel in Morocco...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 739.

    "We can't do it to ourselves because that would be "morally wrong" (and indeed if already living) or if you prefer to think of it in other terms: humans can be monsters"

    I believe having more than 2 children can be reasonably considered a luxy. If anything would be morally wrong it would be having so many kids that future generations will suffer due to competition and smaller share of resources

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 738.

    The sooner this planet is rid of "Human Scum" the better, it cannot come soon enough.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 737.

    735: We can't do it to ourselves because that would be "morally wrong" (and indeed if already living) or if you prefer to think of it in other terms: humans can be monsters. The very fact humans kill animals when a human is killed by an animal when in the animal's territory (e.g., shark in the ocean or bear in the wilderness) is a despicable trait. It's akin to executing someone for self defence.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 736.

    I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall watching the U.N. coming to this stupid decision . .err, did I say "a fly on the wall"? Hmm, perhaps not a fly then!
    But to be serious for half a mo': it clearly established just what a useless Talking Shop the U.N. has become. Our World has many problems that the U.N. could usefully help to solve - like birth control in under-developed nations.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 735.

    "World poverty is NOT caused by population or a food shortage. If we maximized productivity, through science and engineering, we could do wonders with our world. Every great civilization was born on the back of engineering"

    Even with the best technology there comes a point where we can't match demand. The answer is manage population levels, we do it with animals why can't we do it to ourselves?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 734.

    Just eat people. After all there's a plentiful supply.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 733.

    699: No worries - they're on the menu. I wouldn't worry, in other words.
    693: They discuss it in section 10.1 (Yes I'm bonkers enough to read some of it - only some!).
    "consumption of insects in early childhood ... better protection
    against allergies later in life."
    That's nice. Lucky for them they don't naturally have those allergies. But rejoice! Now there is a better treatment! /sarcasm

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 732.

    Cuisine, like all arts, evolves with every culture over centuries.

    This is rudimentary knowledge.

    It seems as though the UN never learned it.

    And yet, I hear, their writers are the highest paid in the world.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 731.

    714.Dirtyharry

    "..On average,5% of the weight of all plants is toxic,to humans or anything else that eats it..."

    ===

    Some of them, such as the opium poppy and Indian hemp have a very clever defence.

    Whatever eats them feels so relaxed about pretty well everything, that when a carnivore appears, it just sits/lies there and gets eaten.

    Evolution's great.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 730.

    MMMMMMMMM CRUNCHY

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 729.

    Memo to UN:

    No money = No food. No money means no productivity. No productivity means no engineering. No engineering means no jobs. No jobs means no money. No money = no food.

    World poverty is NOT caused by population or a food shortage. If we maximized productivity, through science and engineering, we could do wonders with our world. Every great civilization was born on the back of engineering.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 728.

    717.yambas

    "I ate an Australian witchety grub and it tasted like peanut butter"

    ===

    How lovely. Did it stick to the roof of your mouth too?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 727.

    "Eat more fruit" on the side of a fruiterer's lorry has a friendly, concerned appeal.

    I'm not so sure about "eat more insects".

    What do they have in mind? Locusts? Or bluebottles?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 726.

    I bet I know what's going to be next in Findus lasagne!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 725.

    The problem here isn't money and it isn't resources. It's that we have too many people in the world and in this country, if we were intelligent we'd have some organisation aimed at improving living standards. Instead there is uncontrolled population growth which means our living standards decline.

    We need leadership to get control of the future. I'd do it myself but that would require voters.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 724.

    I admit, the idea of eating bugs turns my stomach. I get the logic, though, and honestly, if it didn't taste awful, and the food didn't look like an insect and the packaging didn't have pictures of insects on it, I might be okay with it.

    Maybe grind them up into a powder and bake them into a pastry.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 723.

    @722 Petrus.

    Indeed, the idea that bugs can be manufactured to be so cheap that anyone in the third world can buy it is a fantasy. Everything has a minimum price tag because there are transportation costs and profits. The people who are starving have zero to very little money so this probably won't apply to them which defeats the whole purpose. The UN are a bunch of geniuses, eh?

 

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