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UN: People need to get their heads around eating insects

Mmmmm. Stir-fried beetles.

Mmmm. Dinner.
Mmmm. Dinner.
Image: Six-spot Burnet Moth Ceterpillar via Shutterstock

ANYONE FANCY SOME stir-fried beetles? Maybe some steak and chips with a side of dragonfly?

If this doesn’t sound inviting to you, then you may want to look away now: a new report from the United Nations suggests that eating insects could be a key weapon in trying to fight world hunger.

Sound far-fetched? The UN makes a compelling case: it points out that edible insects are an inexpensive low-fat high-protein food that can feed pets and livestock as well as humans, plus it says that more than 2 billion people already add insects to their diet already.

The report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation published today says that insects as a food source makes sense given the rising cost of animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes. It also points out that it can help to feed millions of hungry people around the glob and create jobs in developing countries.

However it notes one of the major obstacles in promoting entomophagy (the consumption of insects) in Western countries is that people often view it with disgust and associate it with primitive behaviour.

“People throughout the world have been eating insects as a regular part of their diets for millennia,” the report notes.

The report notes the most commonly consumed insects around the world, with beetles topping the list, followed by caterpillars and then bees, wasps and ants all falling into one category.

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