Edible Insect Trade Group Advocates Support for Insect Agriculture – NACIA Responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to Prohibit USDA Subsidies for Insect Agriculture

Edible Insect Trade Group Advocates Support for Insect Agriculture – NACIA Responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to Prohibit USDA Subsidies for Insect Agriculture

The North American Coalition for Insect Agriculture (NACIA) responds to efforts by Senators Flake and Cortez Masto to prohibit USDA subsidies for Insect Agriculture

December 17, 2018:

Global interest in Insects as Food and Feed was sparked by the 2013 release of a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO): Edible Insects – Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security. Concerns about feeding a rapidly growing worldwide population (estimated to reach 9 billion or higher by 2050 from 7.5 billion today) led to problem-solving around increasing food production in an environment of ever-increasing scarcity.

After a failed attempt to add an amendment to the Farm Bill earlier this year that sought to ban research funding for insect agriculture and insect-based foods, Senator Flake (R-AZ) has now teamed up with Senator Cortez Masto (D-NV) in a renewed effort to frame ongoing research supporting insect farming as “wasteful.” Their proposed legislation (Removing Excessive Dollars to Uproot and Cut Expensive (REDUCE) Government Waste Act) is heavy on puns but light on facts concerning insects.

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Many innovations are misunderstood in their infancy until the scales tip to wider acceptance. In many parts of the world, insects as food and feed are well established. Research shows that insects have been an important part of the human diet for millennia, and remain a protein-rich food staple for billions of people today.Nearby, in Mexico, there are more than 549 known species of insects which are eaten, and comida prehispanica is once again trending.  One of the most well-known is the chapuline, a type of tasty grasshopper which holds deep cultural culinary importance.

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Today, insects as a source of protein for food and feed is a growing industry with over 250 companies worldwide. The insects as feed industry alone was estimated to be worth $900 million in 2016 and is forecast to reach $1.5 billion by 2022 (Mordor Intelligence, 2017). The edible insects market is expected to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2023, supported by a CAGR of 23.8% per a recent Research and Markets report. There is an explosion of growth in this industry globally and the U.S. lags behind. “The insect agriculture industry has grown tremendously in only a few short years – creating jobs, starting American businesses, and fueling economic growth. All signs point to that growth not only continuing, but accelerating. We would welcome the opportunity to show Senators Cortez Masto and Flake how this new agricultural sector could benefit not just the small business owners and farmers already active across 27 states, but their constituents in Nevada and Arizona as well,” said Robert Nathan Allen, NACIA President.

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How to Get People to Try Insects for the First Time: A Tale of Birthday Bugs

How to Get People to Try Insects for the First Time: A Tale of Birthday Bugs

It’s with a happy heart and an older soul that I write this particular post. It’s a post of gratitude to my friends and family who gathered around last weekend for some birthday festivities. I asked them not to come bearing gifts, but an open mind instead.

I asked them to try crickets with me for the first time.

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First To Market – What it Means for Edible Insect Companies

First To Market – What it Means for Edible Insect Companies

 

The horizon is vast, and the journey will be long, but I’m excited so many edible insect companies are coming along!

Wendy Lu McGill, CEO of Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, made a great point during her presentation at Eating Insects Detroit. She mentioned that most of the entomo-enthusiasts in the room had something in common: they were, or are, first to market *mic drop*.

What does it mean to be first to market? The edible insect market is relatively new in our modern industrial timeline. It’s beautiful / cool / exciting / invigorating to be at the precipice of a new industry – to be a part of a community where the rules are still being written! One could also say, however, it’s confusing / stressful / risky / an uphill battle to be at the precipice of a new industry where the rules are still being written. It depends how you look at it.

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Collaboration is Key For Future of Edible Insect Regulations

Collaboration is Key For Future of Edible Insect Regulations

Class is in session!

The rustling of eager students settling into their seats softened as the lights in the auditorium dimmed. “Let’s set the stage to discuss the U.S. regulation of insect-derived foods,” began Ricardo Carvajal, director at Hyman, Phelps & McNamara. He was about to take us on a journey touching on what is known on the past, current, and possible future of regulatory facts that matter for those of us interested in entomophagy.

It felt like I was in university again… how I wish I could have taken classes about THIS!

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We’re Playing Hide & Seek With Insects

We’re Playing Hide & Seek With Insects

So… we have this weird proclivity to refer to food as “grub,” but get turned off by the thought of eating a grub. Ironic much?

As the cost of animal protein continues to rise and food and feed insecurity becomes more problematic, we need to get serious about addressing our food choices.

Thankfully, most of the world is already eating insects. From Mexico to Asia, two billion people eat a regular diet of insects. In Western cultures, at least it seems to be a growing trend from groups of people as diverse as bodybuilders and environmentalists.

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Researching Insects for Malnutrition: Where Will Entomophagy Have the Biggest Impact?

Researching Insects for Malnutrition: Where Will Entomophagy Have the Biggest Impact?

I love when someone rocks my world with a new point of view, it’s a good day. A great day. Darja Dobermann provided that when she suggested we might be focusing our marketing efforts of entomophagy in the wrong areas. Well, not the wrong areas… but not the most effective ones. We already have countries that culturally accept eating insects (that also have climates to support their sustainable breeding). So why are we trying to force insects on other markets before optimizing those?

Darja is doing incredible work examining the potential for entomophagy in undernutrition, specifically anemia and uses in aquaculture in Africa. In our interview we dig a little deeper into work that will change the world.

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Are we Showboating Edible Insects?

Are we Showboating Edible Insects?

There’s nothing I love more than discussing emerging issues with members of the ento community. A few weeks ago, I received a slightly critical comment to my blog post on The Last Man on Earth: Crickets and the Media.

A man named Gregory wrote:

“We want people to embrace eating insects, but apparently it is too irresistible to showboat.

Just look at your own website. Pictures of sticking an entire critter in your mouth are meant to evoke emotion. Imagine the beef industry highlighting pictures of folks biting bloody hunks out of a walking calf.

Folks need to learn to just say no to showcasing these images. I just read an article in which the camera crew bet the child of the interviewed family $5 to eat a live bug on camera. They should have declined.

Media knows how to excite their audience, which isn’t the best for a fledgling industry.”

Ouch. Well… that was my immediate reaction. I think anyone being called out for perpetuating the show-boating of an industry trying to make a place for itself on grocery store shelves would feel a little embarrassed about this sort of comment. It really got me thinking – how does my OWN blog reflect my values and beliefs about how entomophagy should be presented and marketed to the world. Heck, what ARE my beliefs about this matter?

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Reinventing Entomophagy for the 21st Century

Reinventing Entomophagy for the 21st Century

I don’t know about you, but it makes me thrilled when I read about entomophagy more and more in popular media sites. The Huffington Post released an article today about reinventing entomophagy for the 21st century, and I couldn’t agree more.

“‘Entomophagy is an evolving term in need of review,” says Afton Marina Szasz Halloran, Ph.D Fellow at the University of Copenhagen. Halloran calls for a change in the way we speak about edible insects and entomophagy.”

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The Last Man on Earth: Crickets and the Media

The Last Man on Earth: Crickets and the Media

Cricket casserole… I thought it would be at least another few years before I saw dishes like that making appearances in popular shows like The Last Man on Earth (a Fox Comedy). But, alas, the episode aptly named “Crickets” (S2, Ep5) aired on October 25th. What went down?

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Crickets and the California Water Crisis

Crickets and the California Water Crisis

Why Governments Should Incentivize Insect Farming

Earlier this week, we heard Jarrod’s views on the future of FDA regulations for insects. On the whole, it seems that ento-foods are on the road to being GRAS – generally recognized as safe. But regulation is not the only way the government will (or SHOULD) be involved in the future of insects as food.

Jarrod: On another note, I think that the government can not only regulate these food sources, but also begin to better incentivize food sources that would benefit local economies.

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