Food Supply

Edible Insects: Raising Awareness

By The Editors

As mentioned in the previous post, a few days ago a publication released from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) started to raise awareness on the value of insects as food source.

The publication is a book entitled “Edible insects – future prospects for food and feed security” and draws on a broad range of scientific research.  It’s the result of a collaboration with the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and part of a broad-based effort at FAO to examine the gathering and rearing of insects as a viable option for alleviating food insecurity.

Although the majority of edible insects are gathered from forest habitats, there is increased interest in insect farming — novel mass-rearing systems are being explored in many countries. Therefore, insects make important contributions to ecosystems, diets, food security and livelihoods in both developed and developing countries.

The Assistant Director-General of the FAO Forestry Department and the Managing Director of the Department of Plant Sciences Group at Wageningen University and Research Centre say in the book foreword “We hope that it will help raise the profile of insects as sources of food and feed in national and international food agencies. We also hope that it attracts the attention of farmers, the media, the public at large and decision-makers in governments, multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, investment firms, research centres, aid agencies and the food and feed industries.”

Watch the short video below to understand better the value of insects in the diet and the effort made to increase awareness about them.


  • awilliams199

    The idea using insects as a source of food seems rather interesting. As jbruno1 posted insects are eaten and widely accepted as food in many other countries. Although insects can be found in numerous environments and contain various amount of essential nutrients using insects as a normal source of food around the world can have negative effects on the ecosystem. Insects have very important roles in the environment that include pollination, nutrient recycling, and population control. If the consumption of insects became more popular consumer demands for insects would increase. With a large demand for insects, the number of insects present in the natural environment would decline. This decline in population would result in an hindered ecosystem.

  • Nadouna

    I find it so weird that people will eat crab, lobster, crayfish, and shrimp and then be turned off by insects. What happens when you eat meat? It is split into different aminoacids and than used to build up your cells. You don’t become cow or pig or an insect by eating the meat.The only problem here is knowing and seeing what you eat. People, including me, don’t want to see or know what they eat. But that shouldn’t be a problem, there are several ways to process food.If the insects can be cleaned, processed and sold ready to cook, then I suspect it could work. North Americans are used to grabbing a package from the refrigerated section and not really understanding the whole. I guess it’s odd to us Americans but I know a lot of countries in Asia eat insects more than meat.

  • Alejaaa21

    The thought of adding an insect to my daily diet just sounds bizarre and wouldn’t be something I’d be likely to consider. In the United States we have a surplus of food availability that we acquire from many different sources such as vegetables, fruits, poultry, meat, seafood and many others. For many of those living in the Western Hemisphere I don’t think the addition of insects to a normal diet would be something of primary interest, due to the fact that we already have such an abundant amount of resources from which we recieve the calorie intake which we need. I believe that the reasoning behind the motive is a good inititive and may raise awarness, but it won’t mean that people will begin to intergrate insects into their diets as much as it may be wanted to.

    • Jbruno1

      I understand that it would be rather unusual for some people to add insects to their diet when it was never considered. Yes, there is an abundance of food in the U.S. but the idea is to find an alternate source that we can achieve the same, if not better, nutrition. After all, populations continue to increase and humans spread more and more, into already inhabited lands. Those lands are where forests, livestocks, pastures, and farmsteads are located. We are diminishing our sources and are forced to resort to alternate paths. Insects have the potential to replace our dependence on food that is slowly diminishing. And Actually, insects are quite common in other countries not just in the place named in the video, they are also found in the western hemisphere. You may not be exposed to it regularly in the U.S. but they are actually consumed by other populations. For example, ants might be eaten sparingly for a a nutritional snack in countries but they arent a sole food group all to themselves yet.

  • Jbruno1

    Insects are actually quite popular in many other countries other than the U.S. They are abundant in many different environments and have a variety of uses; which is a result of their great potential. As stated above, they have an extremely high nutritional value and can replace the need for some foods like meats when livestock is hard o come by in certain nations. Also, dead insects decompose like everything else and eventually become nutrients for the soil to be used as compost that can be a natural way to stimulate agricultural production. Also, if they did become a food source then people would be less likely to kill them with pesticides and other harsh chemicals. Those chemicals make their ways into our plants hat are absorbed into the soil and through their roots ; for example if it is in the soil of a corn field the corn will have trace amounts of the chemicals and the person will eat the chemicals. An alternate route is runoff from the soil and into the water system which then also has potential o be ingested by people. Using insects can be more helpful than some might think.

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