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UN Food Agency Urges People To Eat More Insects


A meal of insects is held at a press preview for a program of the American Museum of Natural History. (file photo)

A meal of insects is held at a press preview for a program of the American Museum of Natural History. (file photo)

A new United Nations report says that eating more insects could help fight world hunger and reduce pollution.

The report, issued on May 13 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), says that more than 2 billion people worldwide supplement their diet with insects.

But it also says that "consumer disgust remains one of the largest barriers to the adoption of insects as viable sources of protein in many Western countries."

"Tastes change, no?" Eva Muller, director of the FOA's forestry department, told Reuters in Rome. "We have seen that with sushi. 20 years ago nobody would have eaten sushi because it's raw fish and now everybody likes it. So, tastes can change and we've already seen insects showing up in restaurants in some of the capitals in Europe and they are offered as something like a speciality."

According to the report, beetles, caterpillars, wasps, and other insects provide high-quality protein and nutrients and are "particularly important as a food supplement for undernourished children."

"In the longer term, I think insects could also be eaten in Western countries -- and why this would be good?" Muller says. "Well, we know that the [world] population is growing and there is going to be an increased demand for food and protein in general and insects offer one option of providing this protein. And in western cultures where we have a huge problem of obesity and overweight, insects are a very nutritious element that could provide a healthy diet."

The report points out that "insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly," adding they leave a "low environmental footprint."

Based on reporting by AP and AFP
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