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Insects are an often-overlooked food and feed source. In many areas of the world, they have been eaten for centuries. In 1885, Vincent M. Holt wrote a document called “Why Not Eat Insects?” in which he described historical instances of people who ate insects and considered them a great delicacy. Worldwide, more than 1900 insect species have been used as food (van Huis et al. 2013). Of these, beetles (mostly larvae) make up 31%; caterpillars of butterflies and moths make up 18%; larvae and pupae of bees, wasps, and ants make up 14%; and grasshoppers, locusts and crickets make up 13% (van Huis et al. 2013).

Where insects are not typically viewed as a food source, people often have an internal aversion to eating them. Even so, we all do eat insects, though often unknowingly. Insects are found in small amounts in dry goods like beans and grains, and in food products such as peanut butter. In the USA, the FDAallows a certain number of insect parts in various commodities--for example, peanut butter is allowed an “average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.” In this case, legislation exists to limit the number of insect parts.

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  1. 2015-01-20 ‘For centuries people have been collecting the nearly 2000 species of insects available for human consumption. This is not because it is a poor man’s food – a Western misconception – but because it is delicious.’ Arnold van Huis, Professor of Tropical Entomology, Wageningen University Population...
  2. Abstract, EAJ, 2014 The palm beetles, Oryctes rhinoceros L are pests of palm trees in the tropics and are also very important as edible insects. This study was conducted to investigate the nutrient composition, mineral salt contents, functional properties and anti-nutrient factors of the...
  3. Research on the use of insects for feed is also being led byICIPE(The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. Programs by ICIPE includeINSFEED(“Insect feed for poultry and fish production in sub Saharan Africa”);GREEiNSECT(“Mass-rearing insects for greener protein supply”) andILIPA...
  4. Rating: 5.0 - 1 Vote
    2017-10-23 Insects are an often-overlooked food and feed source. In many areas of the world, they have been eaten for centuries.Where insects are not typically viewed as a food source, people often have an internal aversion to eating them.Insects make sense as a food and feed source for many reasons. First,...
  5. Trends towards 2050 predict a steady population increase to 9 billion people, forcing an increased food/feed output from available agro-ecosystems resulting in an even greater pressure on the environment. Scarcities of agricultural land, water, forest, fishery and biodiversity resources, as well...
  6. Research on the use of insects for feed is also being led byICIPE(The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. Programs by ICIPE includeINSFEED(“Insect feed for poultry and fish production in sub Saharan Africa”);GREEiNSECT(“Mass-rearing insects for greener protein supply”) andILIPA...
  7. A series of videos atwww.mealflour.org/diyexplains how to make a small three-tiered mealworm farm. Instead of a plastic organizer (as is used in the videos), wooden boxes could be used. The top box houses adult beetles. Mesh in the bottom of the top box (tightly sealed where the mesh joins the...
  8. In an NPRinterview, Robert Allen described the advocacy role of his organization (educational non-profitLittle Herds) as, “pushing both businesses and regulatory agencies to adhere to the highest standards when creating the rules and laws of this new sector.” He added, “We believe insects can and...
  9. The Food Insects Newsletterwas published from 1988 to 2000, featuring fascinating articles about edible insects from all over the world, including instructions to raise insects, their nutritional properties, recipes, medicinal uses, and so forth.
  10. Abstract -Environmental Entomology, 2015 Accumulation of organic wastes, especially in livestock facilities, can be a potential pollution issue. The black soldier fly,Hermetia illucensL. (Diptera: Stratiomyidae), can consume a wide range of organic material and has the potential to be used in...
  11. Entomophagy is the consumption of insects by humans. Entomophagy is practised in many countries around the world but predominantly in parts of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Insects supplement the diets of approximately 2 billion people and have always been a part of human diets. However, it is...
  12. It is best not to assume that such high efficiency is possible in every case. In an article titled “Crickets are not a free lunch,” authors Lundy and Parrella (2015) point out that crickets’ growth and even viability depends on the quality of their diet, especially at an industrial scale. Still,...
  13. Research on the use of insects for feed is also being led byICIPE(The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology. Programs by ICIPE includeINSFEED(“Insect feed for poultry and fish production in sub Saharan Africa”);GREEiNSECT(“Mass-rearing insects for greener protein supply”) andILIPA...
  14. It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accomodate this number, current food production will need to almost double. Land is scarce and expanding the area devoted to farming is rarely a viable or sustainable option. Oceans are overfished and climate change and...
  15. Larvae of the black solder fly (Hermetia illucens) are a popular protein source for animal feed. Ian Banks, working in research and development with Agriprotein, shared several characteristics that make black soldier fly larvae good candidates for mass-rearing (Thomas 2017a). The larvae are...
  16. Rating: 2.0 - 1 Vote
    1993-12-19 A method for rearing the insect that yields the red dye, carmine.
  17. Abstract -Journal of Insects as Food and Feed There is growing interest in insects as human food in academia, food and agricultural industries, public institutions and the public at large. Yet many of the words and concepts used to describe these organisms and the human practices surrounding them...
  18. Abstract -International Journal of Tropical InsectScience, 2011 Food security is a problem in many developing and less developed countries due to increase in human population and decrease in crop productivity and food availability. Edible insects are a natural renewable resource of food providing...
  19. Abstract - Food Security 7, Entomophagy is a common practice in many regions of the world but there are few examples of national regulations that govern insects for human consumption. Where entomophagy is not common, the current regulatory discourse focuses primarily on food safety and consumer...
  20. This key will to help you identify different insect orders. We are using many examples of insects found in Michigan, but the key will work anywhere. How the Key Works This is a dichotomous key, which means that at each step, you will have two choices. Juststart the keyand answer the simple...
  21. 2018-01-31 Patrick Trail, working with ECHO Asia in Chiang Mai, Thailand, shared some feedback after reading the recent EDN article about edible insects. He wrote us some feedback about his experiences and observations