Sunday, September 13, 2009

Birds Do It

Eat insects, that is. So do many mammals--including humans.

It's called entomophagy and in many parts of the world, it's a common part of many people's diet. Put a tray of roasted crickets out at a party in the U.S., though, and you're more than likely to clear out a room. If entomophagy is practiced here at all, it is more than likely a novelty.

There are, however, groups devoted to promoting the practice. Tonight, I had the opportunity to sample cricket cookies--chocolate chirpies, admittedly something of a novelty.

Still, it got me thinking that perhaps in some places it might be a viable way for under-nourished people to get protein and calories. According to Insects Are Food, quoting the Entomological Society of America, insects generally contain more protein and are lower in fat than traditional meats. In addition they have about 20 times higher food conversion efficiency than traditional meats. In other words they have a better feed-to-meat ratio than beef, pork, lamb or chicken.

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