Cheese and crickets: Italian researchers to discuss edible insects at MSU

The practice of consuming insects as a source of nourishment has been around for thousands of years in many cultures throughout the world. In the U.S., however, insects have long been considered pests and a source of fright for many Americans.

May 24, 2016

crickets for dinner

The practice of consuming insects as a source of nourishment has been around for thousands of years in many cultures throughout the world. In the United States, however, insects have long been considered pests and a source of fright for many Americans.

“Realizing that there is a huge phobia of insects as a feed source across faculty, staff, and students, we hope to introduce the MSU campus to the concept of edible insects through a seminar/tasting experience,” said Dr. Jeff Swada, Michigan State University food science assistant professor and undergraduate advisor.

Italian researchers Dr. Giovanni Sogari and Dr. Francesca Lotta will share their expertise in edible insects as a feed source during a noon lecture Friday, May 27, in Room 206 of the G. Malcom Trout Building (Food Science and Human Nutrition) at Michigan State University.

In light of the world’s growing population, food scientists worldwide are scrambling to find a sustainable way to provide enough in underdeveloped, developing and developed countries in a manner that will lessen the impact on current agricultural systems.

The concept of insects as a sustainable source of nutrients is an emerging trend in the food science arena, so much so that the world’s first edible insect conference, “Eating Insects Detroit 2016,” is taking place Thursday through Saturday at Wayne State University. Sogari and Lotta are presenting there too.

Crickets are especially nutritious, with about five times the amount of calcium and 10 times the amount of iron as chicken, according to a 2013 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Sogari and Lotta will discuss some of the following topics during their lecture:

  • History of entomophagy (the practice of eating insects) and new trends in the world
  • Consumer acceptability and the yuk factor
  • New insect-based products
  • The approach of European member states
  • The new novel food regulation: ppportunities for a new business?

In addition to a pizza lunch, an edible insect buffet will be provided. Contact Marcia Hardaker (hardake1@anr.msu.edu) or Swada (swadajef@anr.msu.edu) for more information or to reserve a place for lunch.

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