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.
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.
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!
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.
And entomophagy continues to collect momentum in the press! The Digital Journal released a nice piece a few days ago titled, “Are insects better than Italian cuisine? Some people think so!” In it, they discussed a valid point: what we consider food is largely influenced by culture. Something completely normal to you may be offensively gross to eat, from another culture’s perspective.
The article looks in particular at the Bozzaotra bros – a duo selling insects as food to a growing Italian market. Most fascinating to me was the brief (but MASSIVELY CLEVER) quip on regulations that the article contained. As some of my readers know, I’ve been fascinated by the development of the regulatory scene around the growing entomophagy field. I’ve written a few articles about theregulation of insects as food – focusing on the barriers they present. *SPOILER ALERT* The Bozzaotra bros, geniuses that they are, passed their insect delicacies off as “natural remedies” in order to bypass the strict government regulations.
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.”
A bit ago the news was been abuzz with Shailene Woodley’s behind-the-scenes video (accompanying her new cover of Nylon magazine) where she predicted that the future of food is insects. She said, “I’ve eaten ants…and June bugs.” It seems that celebrities are getting in on the insect-eating fun.
The other day I came across an Instagram post via Katy Perry where she wrote, “Just celebrating a run of 141 shows with a fun scorpion snack in Bangkok!” … yes, Katy, yes!
Meet Sengthong. Whether he knows it or not, he is playing a vital role in improving food security in Laos, a country where over 40% of children are undernourished.
Sengthong explains, “I started to collect when I was 35 years old. No one taught me; I did it myself. At first when I was collecting, I used my own hands. I couldn’t collect a lot so I started using a small plastic bag. I then changed to using a bigger bag, wish which I can collect by swinging it around. I concentrate on collecting insects to sell for my income. Because I otherwise don’t know how I would make money.”
Why We Couldn’t Feed Insectivores Insects & Future FDA Regulations
Jarrod Goldin, one of the founders of Next Millennium Farms, speaks about the incredible entomophagy movement gaining popularity. Next Millennium farms is leading the protein revolution with a new, environmentally sound method of food production.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be releasing his interview in a Next Millennium Series, taking you on explorations of ento’s relationship to GMOs, FDA regulations, the water crisis and more.
Today, Jarrod discusses regulations surrounding entomophagy from the oddities with restrictions in feeding animals insects and the future of FDA regulations with insects.
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.