U.N. Report Says Edible Insects May Help Combat Global Hunger, Malnutrition, Air Pollution

“The United Nations says eating insects may combat global hunger and boost health worldwide by reducing malnutrition and even air pollution,” the Associated Press/CBS News reports. In a 200-page report (.pdf) released Monday at a news conference in Rome, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said “that grasshoppers, ants and other members of the insect world are an underutilized food for people, livestock and pets,” the news service adds (5/13). “The authors of the study by the Forestry Department, part of the [FAO], said many insects contained the same amount of protein and minerals as meat and more healthy fats doctors recommend in balanced diets,” Reuters notes (Hornby, 5/13).

“The case for houseflies — or other insects like crickets, beetles, bees, wasps, caterpillars, grasshoppers, termites and ants — becoming a major industrial food source is being taken seriously by governments, says the report, because they grow exceptionally fast and thrive on the waste of many industrial processes,” The Guardian writes (Vidal, 5/13). According to the report, “[F]arming insects for human and animal consumption is particularly relevant at a time when population growth, urbanization, and the rising middle class have increased the demand for food while simultaneously harming the environment that enables its production,” the U.N. News Centre notes (5/13). The report “notes that over two billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects,” according to BBC News, which adds, “However it admits that ‘consumer disgust’ remains a large barrier in many Western countries” (5/13).