India's Famine Solution: We'll Eat Bugs
FAO discusses farming insects for food
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2014 12:54 PM CDT
Dried insects and insect spices are displayed at the Wellcome Collection in London, Tuesday, April 23, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

(Newser) – Hopefully people in India like munching on crickets and other, um, delicacies. As the country's Food and Agriculture Organization warns a global famine will strike in 50 years, scientists are experimenting with an interesting source of alternative protein: bugs. "We are now doing a lot of work on edible insects," says a professor who has studied 29 different insect species included in the diet of the Bodo tribe in Assam. An FAO report notes bugs like caterpillars, termites, beetles, and grasshoppers have a high nutritional value that could match other kinds of meat, Quartz reports. Plus, insects are already part of traditional diets for two billion people worldwide, according to the report.

So how do you feed a country like India with bugs? The answer is large-scale insect farms, FAO says, adding that such a diet would be environmentally friendly and cheaper than other proteins. As for the Bodos, "they do not have much inhibition about insects. It is an age-old tradition for them," the professor says. But one member of the country's Dalit population, which has also eaten bugs, notes they did so "out of compulsion ... If you ask them to go back to eating just that, they will tell you to go to hell." Maybe this will help: "Salty and sweet" preserves made from leftover silkworm pupae apparently taste like prawns, a scientist says. The Waco Tribune-Herald notes the trend toward creepy-crawly meals is also playing out in the US.

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
westword6
Mar 15, 2014 11:41 AM CDT
If they market bugburgers here in the States, will they add bins of dental floss to the condiments counter at fast food places?
Jhon_P
Mar 15, 2014 1:30 AM CDT
They could stop worshiping the cows an eat them instead
FarmerMichael
Mar 15, 2014 1:18 AM CDT
Our farm policies here are down right buggy. I can let my chickens roam free, eating any bugs they want and get a premium for the as free range birds. But I can't grow my own bugs to feed the chickens, because of food laws. (And the corn lobby worries, I'm sure of it....) My lawyer laughs at the concept that I can grow bugs and let the free and then have the chickens find the bugs. Life with rules made by folks that never get the whole picture....but insects and earthworms are good food. Think of them as "land shrimp."