- By Jennifer T. Parker Jennifer Parker is a researcher at Foreign Policy.
If you’ve ever considered paring a fresh garden salad with a hearty serving of mealworm quiche, you may be in luck. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is reviewing a policy paper, written by a Dutch entomologist Arnold van Huis, which argues for consuming more insects. His rationale is entirely logical: Bugs are cheaper to feed; high in protein and calcium; and much less of an environmental burden than livestock like cows, pigs, and chickens. Insects are also biologically different from humans, thus less susceptible to contagious diseases. And – there are about 1,400 edible bugs in the world.
In the first phase of the program, van Huis proposes feeding more insects to farmed animals and then gradually introducing bugs to Western diets: "We’re looking at ways of grinding the meat into some sort of patty, which would be more recognizable to western palates," he said. Van Huis is also partial to cricket pies, fried grasshoppers, and mealworm quiche. "Sauced crickets in a warm chocolate dip make a great snack," he said in an interview.
U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization has already started a pilot program in Laos. About 80% of the world already eats insects – now it’s just a matter of convincing those who don’t. While this may be entirely sensible, good luck to the unfortunate public relations person at the U.N. who’s in charge of making this idea appealing.