- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Locusts on a bun? Oh, drive on through, please.

A veritable swarm of academes hopes to steer Americans toward eating bugs. Whoops. We mean “food insects.” Consider that crickets, they say, contain as much omega-3 fatty acids as salmon. The idea was presented recently before the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting in New Orleans.

“Insects require less feed, less water, less land, and less energy to produce and their production generates substantially lower environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and greenhouse gases,” says Aaron Dossey, founder of All Things Bugs, a source for protein-rich insect powder for commercial use.

“Some insects are as much as 80 percent protein by weight and provide more essential amino acids than most animal proteins,” Mr. Dossey declares.

But wait. According to Florence Dunkel, associate professor of entomology at Montana State University, 85 insect species in the U.S. are documented food sources - including locusts, grasshoppers, crickets, silk moth pupae and assorted larvae.

People eat such fare elsewhere. Why not here?

“We have to overcome the ‘ick’ factor,” says Laurie Keeler, a food product specialist at the University of Nebraska. “It’s a cultural barrier that has to be overcome. We have spent a lot of time worried about insects getting into food; now we want to encourage eating insects as food.”

The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization has also recommended that “underutilized” grasshoppers, ants and insects be reconsidered as food, “livestock” and pets.