Last night I caught an interesting documentary on BBC4 – ‘Can Eating Insects Save The World?’ – and it provoked lots of interesting discussion in our house about eating insects.
Presenter Stefan Gates travels to Thailand and Cambodia, where the consumption of spiders (including tarantulas) and insects is not only commonplace, but often a delicacy which commands high prices. Yet here in the West if insects are found in a restaurant it’s a call to Environmental Health department of the local council.
It is estimated that thee are 40 tonnes of insects to every human (which if you do the maths is an incomprehensible amount of insects!), yet billions of people on earth are starving and malnourished. At the same time the farming of livestock for meat for the rich diverts thousands of tonnes of grain out of the food chain, further exacerbating global food inequalities . Stefan asks if the solution is for everyone – the British included – to start eating insects too.
We personally thought that eating insects would be no different to eating prawns – both are arthropods – and are low in fat and full of protein making them healthy alternatives to meat. Insects are less likely to be contaminated (as in the recent beef/horse meat scandal). Insects also lay eggs in massive quantities, and have short breeding hatching and growing times – in the case of crickets it takes 45 days from egg to fully grown cricket – meaning it is possible to generate huge quantities of insects in very short timescales compared to livestock, in a much much smaller and less resource and labour intensive manner.
However, and it’s a big however, like many I’m really not keen on spiders (after an unfortunate incident – I’ll spare you the details in case you’re squeamish!), and can’t imagine ever having the guts to give eating insects a go!
What do you think? Should we as a nation get over our fears and start eating insects? Would you personally eat insects?