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Edible Insects: Beyond The Novelty Factor

Although they may not be for the faint of heart, edible insects have been showing up on grocers’ shelves, with stores like Publix stocking cricket bars, snacks and protein powders, FoodNavigator-USA reports.

Whether or not you’re ready to say bon appetit to this food, in reality there are more than 1,900 documented edible insect species and some are even “farmed” the way cattle or chickens are in the U.S. (Whole Foods reportedly has its own cricket farm). And, with growing concerns over the unsustainable practices that constitute modern “farming,” eating insects may prove to be a very wise, and necessary, decision.

Some of the most commonly eaten insects include beetles, caterpillars, ants, bees, grasshoppers, termites and wasps. (The truth is you may be eating insects already, in the form of “acceptable levels” of contaminants that the U.S Food and Drug Agency (FDA) allows in canned and processed foods such as potato chips, tomatoes and even raisins, in which the FDA allows up to 10 dragonflies and 35 of its eggs in a single 8-ounce serving!)

The latest insect novelty is cockroach milk, which scientists say is three times richer in calories than buffalo milk. It’s hard to say whether cockroach milk will be a commodity soon, but the truth is insects offer a rich source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins such as calcium, iron, selenium and zinc, as well as minerals and fiber — something already known to the 2 billion people worldwide who eat them.
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