UN report: Eat more insects to fight world hunger


A hawker sells scorpions, star fish, sea horses and silkworm cocoons for adventurous customers to eat at a market stall in Beijing on January 8, 2012.



Eating more insects and putting them on restaurant menus could help fight world hunger, according to a new United Nations report.

The 200-page report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization notes that more than 2 billion people, a third of the world's population, already supplement their diet with insects because they are not only nutritious but delicious.

However it admits that "consumer disgust" remains a large obstacle in many Western countries, BBC reported.

Speaking at a press conference in Rome, FAO forest economics director Eva Mueller said, "Insects are abundant and they are a valuable source of protein and minerals."

She urged the food industry to help in "raising the status of insects" by including them in recipes and including them on restaurant menus.

"Beetles, grasshoppers and other insects ... are now showing up though on the menus of some restaurants in some European capitals," said Mueller, Associated Press reported.

The UN report noted that insects are high in protein and minerals.

"Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly," the agency said, adding they leave a "low environmental footprint."

The report also noted that insects contain "good fats," and many are rich in calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, as well as being a source of fiber.

It said insects were a healthy, nutritious alternative to mainstream staples such as beef, chicken, and pork, CBS News reported.