by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Insects

Nov 24 2021

Bored with the thanksgiving menu? Try insects!

FoodNavigator-USA, one of the newsletters I subscribe to, has a special edition on edible insects.  

If you want to know what the food insect industry and market look like these days, this is a great place to get the big buggy picture in a hurry:

And how about some migratory locusts?

Jun 17 2021

Eating insects: the hot new food trend?

Apparently so.

They do have nutritional value, although studies of their nutrient composition are limited in number and scope and show high variability in results.  Nutrient composition is usually given in 100 gram (about 3 ounces) portions and that seems like a lot of insects, way more than anyone might eat at one time.  It’s also hard to imagine how many insects you would need to get three ounces worth.

Some recent items on this topic, inspired by the hatching of the most recent Cicada brood.

May 7 2021

Weekend reading: Edible insects

If you are interested in edible insects—and who is not—this fabulous FAO report examines the safety implications of their farming and production.

As explained in the executive summary:

Until recently edible insects have been collected mainly from the wild but farming insects for human as well as animal consumption is now on the rise. Their high fecundity, high feed conversion efficiency, and rapid growth rates make insects viable and attractive candidates for farming. In addition, they can be reared in small, modular spaces, making it feasible to raise them in rural as well as urban farm settings.

After reviewing the environmental and nutritional benefits of insect production, the report continues:

However, the benefits of this emerging food source must be weighed against all possible challenges: for instance, any food safety issues that could pose health threats to consumers….This publication covers some of the major food safety hazards that should be considered, including biological agents (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic) as well as chemical contaminants (pesticides, toxic metals, flame retardants)….
concerns. Food safety risks can be higher when insects are harvested from the wild and consumed raw.

The moral: cook your insects!

Aug 27 2020

Odd items I’ve been saving up

For no particular reason other than curiosity, I’ve been hanging on to these items.  This feels like a good time to share them.

Nov 27 2019

Food options for Thanksgiving? Omega 3-enriched farmed grasshoppers!

I was interested to see this announcement from the University of Eastern Finland about new research suggesting a way to improve the nutritional quality of fats from….edible grasshoppers!

Until I read this account, I did not know that

  • Long-horned grasshoppers are widely consumed as snacks in parts of Africa.
  • More than 2,000 insect species are known to be eaten by humans.
  • Raising edible insects requires less space and water and has lower greenhouse emissions than meat production.
  • In some places, overexploitation of insect resources is a problem.
  • Feeding omega-3 fatty acids to grasshoppers to finish off their growth (as is done with farmed salmon) improves their essential fatty acid levels.

This research was done for a doctoral dissertation and published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.  It must have been a lot of fun to do.


Sep 19 2019

Eating insects: everything you want to know and more

I can’t say that I am particularly interested in eating insects but I know there is a lot of interest in them as an alternative food source, and I was intrigued by a story about a new guide to labeling insect-based foods.

Since the link given for this publication does not seem to work, I went to the website of the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF), an organization I am happy to know about.

IPIFF is “the voice of the insect sector in the European Union.”  It represents  52 small and medium-sized producers of insects for the European market.  Who knew?

Its mission:

to promote the wider use of insects as an alternative or new source of protein for human consumption and animal feed through continuous dialogue with the European institutions. Notably, IPIFF centres its activities around advocating for appropriate EU legislative frameworks to apply to insect production.

Its publications are here.

Want to know more about insects in human nutrition?  Try this:

Interesting, no?  I’m happy to know about this site.