Fried Insects are already available as street food in Germany
By Wilhelm Thomas Fiege / insektenwirtschaft.de - Own work
CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65265722
There's been a strange push lately to get people to eat bugs. Bill Gates has talked about it many times on social media, and many news outlets have attempted to convince people that it's completely normal to munch on crickets. Nicole Kidman is among the latest in the attempt to normalize eating bugs. She sat down for a segment with Vanity Fair in which she was served a four-course meal of bugs, many of which were still alive. [By the way, eating live bugs is not recommended as you could get a parasite. All the experts I read advised to cook the bugs thoroughly.]
First let’s address the conspiracy theories surrounding this. Conspiracy theories abound in today’s world—in fact, so much so that we have conspiracy theories about concept of conspiracy theories. Some say those who label other people’s opinions “conspiracy theories” are propagandists whose goal it is to discredit the truth for their personal gain. I prefer instead to call what some might label as “conspiracy theory” merely an opinion that some, often those in power, disagree with. In fact, over the past 10 years many stories, once labeled “conspiracy theory” by the media have been proven to be true.
It is no surprise that conspiracy theories abound concerning the issue of the very real push in the media to normalize the idea of bugs for food in our western culture. By the way, this push by the media and the Establishment is very real. You can verify for yourself by searching on the Internet. I found examples of it that go back as far as 2012—ten years ago. When I searched “push to normalize eating bugs”, I got 5,620,000 results. Some people are saying, for example, that the rich will be forcing the poor to eat. insects while they (the rich) eat prime rib. If you look at the price of the few insect food products on the market today, you can easily see the fallacy of that. Some rich folks may not even be able to afford this cuisine, much less the poor. For example, a 5 oz. bag of Chirps Cricket Protein chips sells for $17.99. At Walmart you can purchase ten 1oz packages of Lays classic potato chips for $4.99. Ten ounces of a snack for $4.99 or a 5oz snack for $17.99? The market for this new cuisine is most definitely the rich.
1. EATING INSECTS IS NORMAL IN OTHER CULTURES—2 BILLION HUMAN BEINGS EAT INSECTS EVERY DAY
First of all, according to the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) estimates, every day about one third of the Earth's population, or more than 2 billion people, eat insects.
2. THERE IS A GREATER AVAILABILITY OF INSECTS TO ALL PEOPLE OF THE WORLD THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE OF EDIBLE PROTEIN
Estimates of numbers of edible insect species consumed globally range from 1,000 to 2,000. These species include 235 butterflies and moths, 344 beetles, 313 ants, bees and wasps, 239 grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches, 39 termites, and 20 dragonflies, as well as cicadas.
3. EATING INSECTS INSTEAD OF MEAT COULD GREATLY HELP TO SAVE OUR PLANET FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION.
Agriculture is the top source of worldwide deforestation (40%), and among the top commodity-drivers of deforestation, beef holds the first place. Overall, beef is responsible for 36% of all agriculture-linked forest-replacement. It is estimated that for each pound of beef produced, 200 square feet of rainforest are destroyed,
Cows produce 100x the Greenhouse gas emissions of crickets. Cows eat 10 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of meat. Crickets only eat 1.7 pounds.
Insects are far more environmentally sustainable to raise and harvest. For example, one pound of cricket protein and be produced with just one gallon of water, while the same amount of protein can be made with about 2000 gallons of water from beef.
Approximately one third of the world’s cereal production is fed to animals. Think about the huge impact it would have if most of that was used for feeding people, instead. Also, insects have less waste: 80 percent of the body is considered edible compared to 40 percent for beef. Because of all this, insects tend to have a better “feed to food” conversion efficiency ratio than livestock. There are many other benefits to be gained for the planet and humanity for choosing insects as your choice of protein.
4. INSECTS ARE MORE PROTEIN EFFICIENT THAN BEEF OR OTHER MEAT
Farm-raised crickets, for example, contain double the amount of protein in chicken, more calcium than milk and more iron than spinach.
INDUSTRIALIZATION OF INSECTS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION IS STILL IN ITS INFANCY
Checks and balances need to be established to ensure native species are not over-harvested, thus upsetting a natural balance that has taken millions of years to achieve.
Also, eating insects is not for everyone as eating bugs could trigger allergic reactions in some people. According to several sources, those with an allergy to crab, lobster or shrimp should steer clear of foods containing insects.
But things are moving forward. In May of 2021, a European Union panel voted to approve the sale of an insect-based food for humans for the first time in the union’s history. The French company Agronutris had put in the application to sell dried yellow mealworm, a maggot-like organism “ said to taste a lot like peanuts” when dried; with EU regulatory approval, the company hopes to sell the mealworm as a flour-like powder.
One of the early efforts in the USA has been funded by Mark Cuban. The product is called Chirps chips. The chips are a line of high-protein snacks made from cricket flour. The other ingredients include corn, beans, and chia seed.
Chips made with flour milled from crickets priced at $17.99 fir five ounces.
CONCLUSION AND SPECULATIONS
If you ate the bugs that showed up in your garden, there would be no need for pesticides* (and as a gardener, think of the satisfaction that might come with eating them—revenge, not to mention the last word with them). However, I’m not advocating eating raw bugs. Applying high heat, such as baking or boiling, is the only way to ensure there are no parasites on the insects.
I doubt that I will ever be the person who pops a whole chocolate grasshopper into her mouth. That is far too close to the source for my comfort. I will likely be the coward who eats food products such as Chirps Chips which is made with cricket flour [provided they bring their prices down from the ionosphere.] Still and yet, this is food that has been highly processed, so it comes with all the same negatives as any processed food.
Setting aside my mistrust of our government, the media and celebrities such as Bill Gates and Nicole Kidman (both of whom are cheerleaders for insect cuisine) and neither of whom I trust; and regardless how disgusting and repugnant the idea of eating insects is to me, I’ve decided that eating insects instead of steaks and pork chops is a worthy undertaking. [Although I likely won’t start doing this tomorrow.]
*Note if you are an avid gardener who visits the garden at least once a day, there is no need for pesticides--just kill them with your bare hands and don't forget to put a notch in your belt..