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U.N. Wants You to Eat Insects
May 19, 2013

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Bugs are right up there with cows, pigs, and chickens.

The Food and Agriculture Organization, an arm of the United Nations, has issued a report adding insects to a list of viable sources. Specifically, the FAO has included a few hundred species of insects that are edible and, actually, nutritious. On the list are species of ants, beetles, caterpillars, cicadas, crickets, dragonflies, termites, and wasps.

These offerings are already on the menu in many countries around the world, but Westerners don't generally include insects in their diets. According to the FAO, the Westerners are missing out on viable sources of protein and healthy fats. Insects are plentiful, and the preparation of them as meals doesn't create as much of an environmental impact as the growing, slaughtering, and shipping of cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, lambs, and other foods that Westerners would more traditionally call sources of protein.

For the record, the consumption of insects is called entomophagy. In conjunction with the FAO report, some well-known chefs and restaurants are launching a campaign to boost entomophagy. One such effort is the Ento Box, an insect-dominated take-off on the popular Japanese Bento box.

A primary motivation of the entomophagy efforts is the recent estimate that the world's population will top 9 billion in 2050.

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