Insects: Our Next Food Craze?

UN agency considers benefits of a critter diet
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2011 4:16 PM CDT
United Nations Probes Benefits of Insect Diet
A picture taken 09 October 2002 shows a street vendor offering Cambodia's latest food fad, fried tarantulas basted in oil and garlic, for sale in Phnom Penh.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Cambodian deep-fried tarantula, anyone? A chocolate ant wafer or curried cockchafer? Such meals are already popular in many nations, but now the UN is investigating whether we should all munch on the critters. In his Guardian blog, Fraser Lewry says stats favor an insect diet: After all, the world population will hit 7 billion come October, and insects not only produce more meat per pound of feed than farm animals, "they produce a fraction of the greenhouse gasses pumped out by cattle and are rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins."

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Curious to taste creepy crawlies, Lewry visited an insect event at the Natural History Museum in London. "The first thing we discover is that we're already eating insects," says Lewry, who points out how chocolate bars contain insect fragments and cans of sweet corn include larvae chunks. "And frozen broccoli? You really, really don't want to know." His verdict at the tasting table? While he liked the nutty fried crickets and subtly sweet waxworm larvae, "my favourite treat is an off-menu item, a scorpion dipped in chocolate and possessing a gentle alcoholic kick." (Read more insects stories.)

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