Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We Are All Entomophages

Those of us who consider ourselves vegetarian do so by wishing away factoids like these:

FDA rules allow up to 60 insect fragments on average in a composite of six 100-gram chocolate samples. For peanut butter, it’s OK to have up to 30 insect pieces per 100 grams.
Mmmm, insect pieces. Actually, this kind of thing happens all the time, so much so that wikipedia has an entire entry on unintentional entomophagy* -- you're sitting there munching on a bag of crickets, when one of them jumps free and lands in the peanut butter. By the time you dig the cricket out of the peanut butter, it is besmeared with it, so you just play through. Lo and behold, as in the founding myth of Reece's Peanut Butter cups, you've found two great tastes that taste great together. But it isn't all about the flavor:
Gram for gram, crickets or grasshoppers can be more nutritious than an equal quantity of beef or pork, says Victor B. Meyer-Rochow of Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. One reason: Water constitutes a high percentage of meat, he says, whereas insects tend to be drier. Many insects also are richer in minerals than many meats, such as hamburger, his data show. And most lipids in bugs tend to be long-chain, unsaturated fats—healthier types than those predominant in conventional livestock.
Crickets and grasshoppers are not as herdable as cows or sheep, but they'll eat almost anything, and you'll never, ever have to go out in a hail storm at 3am to 'pull' a cricket calf. If you lose a cricket calf, there are several thousand where that came from:
Insects’ quick reproduction and high fecundity makes them look even more environmentally attractive. For the crickets, DeFoliart has calculated, this translates into “a true food conversion efficiency close to 20 times better than that of beef.”

Gracer likens these differences to gas-guzzling versus gas-sipping vehicles: “Cows and pigs are the SUVs of the food world. And bugs—they’re the Priuses, maybe even bicycles.”
Save the planet. Eat the next three bugs you find.

I've certainly heard dumber ideas.

* If they ever write one, the corresponding article on conservapedia will blame unintentional entomophagy on the gays.

1 comment:

The Wife said...

All aboard the bug-bandwagon? You might find this here as congenial as it is appetising.