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Entomophagy and Future Prospects

Entomophagy and Future Prospects

UPSC CSE MAINS SYLLABUS- GS – 3- Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Entomophagy and Future Prospects

In news:

  • The EU food safety agency has certified the yellow mealworm (not actually a nematode, but the larva of a species of darkling beetle), safe to be a part of your meal.
  • There are cultures in many parts of the world for which insects are a buzz the taste buds crave. Indeed, there are nearly 2,000 insect species known to be eaten by humans.
  • The mealworm itself is eaten in many South Asian countries, while parts of Africa are partial to the mopane worm.
  • While the ‘insect as food’ industry is still in the larval stage, companies across the EU are readying to enter this potential multi-million market—as many as15 applications are pending before the authorities, of which four are in the final stages of approval.

Humans and entomophagy:

  • The eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults of certain insectshave been eaten by humans from prehistoric times to the present day. Around 3,000 ethnic groups practice entomophagy.
  • Human insect-eating is common to cultures in most parts of the world, including Centraland South AmericaAfricaAsiaAustralia, and New Zealand.
  • Eighty percent of the world’s nations eat insects of 1,000 to 2,000 species. In some societies, primarily western nations, entomophagy is uncommon or taboo.
  • Today, insect eating is uncommon in North America and Europe, but insects remain a popular food elsewhere, and some companies are trying to introduce insects as foodinto Western diets.
  • FAOhas registered some 1,900 edible insect species and estimates that there were, in 2005, some two billion insect consumers worldwide.
  • They suggest eating insects as a possible solution to environmental degradationcaused by livestock

Scenario now:

  • Some food and nutrition scientists have been pushing entomophagy as a sustainable, cheap diet that can help the cause of nutrition security around the world.
  • While animal products form the bulk of proteinaceous food acceptable to the Western palate, the meat and poultry industry have been tied to significant greenhouse gas emissions and serious public health risks.
  • At the same time, low-income nations, especially those struggling with nutrition-sufficiency, could benefit greatly from insect-consumption.
  • Arnold van Huis, a Dutch tropical entomologist, says in an interview published in The Wire that one-third of the global agricultural produce and food “that is wasted currently could be used to sustain insect farming.”

Source:” Financial Express”.

POSSIBLE UPSC MAINS QUESTION:

What is Entomophagy? What are the future prospects in this? Can it be the future of food security?