The word on… insect protein

Now there are cultures that subsist off insect protein. They are invariably poor, people often never reach their full physical development and they tend to be shorter than average.

Places where insect eating is most practised are Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa along with places in South East Asia. The very poor bits of the world. Where more conventional protein sources are not available, or there’s a famine.

At best, insect protein is a starvation ration, which the western gastro-intestinal system is not adapted for. For some Africans, certain parts of south East Asia, and in obscure tribes in South America, where deep fried tarantula is considered a delicacy, this is their lot.

Now as a beekeeper I do not agree with eating insects. Honey products yes, but that’s not the same as eating my bees, which I would strenuously object to. I happen to like my little workers and try to do everything within reason to ensure their safety and comfort. Shelter, food sources and plenty of undisturbed time to produce. Mass slaughter as a direct food source? Definitely not.

We have systems to produce good quality animal and vegetable protein, yet someone wants everyone to eat reprocessed insects. Never mind the problems with digesting chitin etcetera which leg-iron gives a quick primer on, without going into the details on various bad stuff like Toluene, exposure to which can cause eye and nose irritation, tiredness, confusion, euphoria, dizziness, headache, tears, anxiety, muscle fatigue, insomnia, nerve damage, inflammation of the skin, and liver and kidney damage. To name but one. There are other potential hazards in an insect based diet becoming a staple.

There appears to be no upside. So why in the bleedin’ crystallised feck are some people saying it’s a good idea and the way to go? They’ve either fried their two remaining brain cells, or as is more likely, there’s money to be made for people who don’t need any more.

The propaganda being spouted about this is reminiscent of the blather about breakfast cereals in the early 1900’s, many of which have a higher glycaemic index than sugar for heavens sake. It is worth noting that our massive intake of sugars and starches is most likely behind the ‘obesity epidemic’ and massive increase in type II diabetes.

No doubt we will be repeatedly told that like these unhealthy breakfast cereals (With perhaps the exception of mueslis etc), insect protein is the way to go, but is it?

I used to be a fan of a TV series called ‘Doomwatch‘ where a team of investigators faced down threats to the food chain and Earth. As a boy I had a grainy old 405 line set donated by a neighbour and managed to squirrel it up to my room to watch TV on low volume while Mum and Dad watched their programmes late in the evening. All BBC hokum of course, but I hadn’t quite hit puberty yet and there weren’t many girls to distract me. Well, none that would have anything to do with a rascal like me.

The scientist cast as hero, where a team led by a Dr Spencer Quist exposing human caused threats to the environment. Usually where a technology got out of control. Such as where a rogue virus escapes from a lab, or a new foodstuff has potential for harm. Which is where we came in….

5 thoughts on “The word on… insect protein”

    1. And yet, you might have consumed sea insects, or shellfish as they’re known. They’re quite closely related to their land-dwelling cousins.

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