Monday, May 27, 2013

Don’t Swat Your Next Meal by AMASING

Don’t Swat Your Next Meal

Most of us hate insects (especially them city slickers).  Unless you’re an entomologist, you would kill one on the spot.  Don’t do that when you’re around the United Nations though.

Edible insects are being promoted as a low-fat, high-protein food for people, pets and livestock. According to the U.N., they come with appetizing side benefits: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and livestock pollution, creating jobs in developing countries and feeding the millions of hungry people in the world.

Never say never when it comes to eating insects because it’s most likely that you have already done so.  Demand for natural food coloring as opposed to artificial dyes is increasing, the agency's experts say. A red coloring produced from the cochineal, a scaled insect often exported from Peru, already puts the hue in a trendy Italian aperitif and an internationally popular brand of strawberry yogurt. Many pharmaceutical companies also use colorings from insects in their pills.

Insects on average can convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of edible meat. In comparison, cattle require 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilogram of meat.  Insect-farms tend to be small, serving niche markets like fish bait businesses. But since insects thrive across a wide range of locations - from deserts to mountains - and are highly adaptable, experts see big potential for the insect farming industry, especially those farming insects for animal feed. Most edible insects are now gathered in forests.  Researchers say Thailand is showing the world how to respond to the global food crisis: by raising bugs for eating.  Entomologist Yupa Hanboonsong says about 200 insect species are eaten in Thailand. Cricket farming alone is already a $30 million industry there, but only a few other species have been commercially marketed.

Fried insects in a Thailand market

Go Thailand and go eat some insects and save the planet.  By the way, I’ve eaten live red ants before and they taste like sour cranberries but it wasn’t bad.

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