UN report says – insects could be future prospects for food

July 11, 2013 | By | Reply More

July 11, NEW YORK — The problem is familiar: How to feed a growing world population. Now, a few people have offered a solution that may sound strange, at least to Western ears: Eat insects.

hromedia UN report says insects could be future prospects fro food health and fitness1

Now, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has weighed in favor of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects. In a 200-plus-page report issued in May, the FAO provides the first comprehensive assessment of insects’ current and potential uses food for humans and livestock.

“It is widely accepted that by 2050 the world will host 9 billion people. To accommodate this number, current food production will need to almost double,” reads the report, titled “Edible Insects: Futurehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/lb_icon1.png Prospects for Food and Feed Security.” “We need to find new

With some seven billion people in the world today and a projected nine billion by 2050, one of the biggest concerns for world leaders is food security. The FAO says livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The organization says we simply can’t sustain current levels of meat consumption – and insects are a viable replacement source of protein, which is gentler on the environment.

Insects have many of the same essential nutrients as meat. They are high in protein, they contain iron and calcium, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, and vitamin D. Edible insects are considerably lower in fat than pork or beef.

“Insects are very nutritious,” says the FAO’s director of forestry, economics, policy and products Eva Ursula Muller. “They play a major role in food security. Two billion people in the world – that means one third of the population – already eats insects.”

Environmentalists also support entomophagy, which means eating bugs, because insects emit less greenhouse gas than cows, require about a quarter of the feed and breeders need very little space to raise their batches of bugs. While livestock farms cut into forested areas, insect production plants can be set-up in small sealed buildings.

Bug business boom

Europe hasn’t yet embraced entomophagy, but new businesses like French start-up Ynsect are quickly developing new products and pushing for change. At their offices in downtown Paris, a small group of entrepreneurs led by Jean-Gabriel Levon are creating animal feed from insect meal.  On a tour of operations, Levon shows off his new product. It looks a bit like a pile of sawdust.

“It smells like fish food,” says Levon proudly. “Fish love our product.”

Levon actually wanted to make insect food for people. He and his partners developed an insect cookie and insect chips – but across the European Union, most regulations only allow small mail-order companies to deliver edible insect products. So the bug-lovers at Ynsect decided to start with animal feed, because this is also in high demand. The EU currently imports about 70 percent of the animal feed it needs. Soy and cereals are flown across the planet to feed pigs, cows and other livestock. Levon says his company can make an insect replacement right here in France.

EU invests in insects

Back at the Paris café, Katie Evans and her friends have finished their grasshopper snacks. They say they are quite willing to try insect snacks but they don’t think entomophagy will fly in Europe.

“I really hope we don’t have to eat insects in the future,” says someone at a nearby table. “If we have to, I can eat grasshoppers but not worms. That would be awful.”

Another adventurous eater is slightly more optimistic about the future of insect cuisine. “It could become a popular appetizer,” he says. “It’s a dry kind of thing you can bring to a party – a definite conversation starter!”

Meanwhile, the EU has offered its members states three million euros ($3.85 million) to research the use of insects in cooking and in 2014, the FAO will host a massive conference in the Netherlands called ‘Insects to Feed the World’. It’s expected that most regulations banning the sale of edible insects with be lifted within the next ten years.

Press writer for HRO media – contributed to this report.

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Category: Health and Fitness

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