Are Sustainability Advocates Ready for the Insectivore's Dilemma?

The Santa Cruz news reports on a possible next wave in the ever evolving food and sustainability movement;

Eating bugs just makes sense, so much so that the U.N. is giving consideration to the matter. In February 2008, the Food and Agriculture Organization hosted a workshop called “Forest Insects as Food: Humans Bite Back,” in Chiang Mai, Thailand at which 36 entomologists, edible insect nutritionists, foresters and others with a stake in the developing edible insect movement discussed the potential of six-legged animals as food and the challenges of developing a market and industry. The BBC reports that a handful of Dutch companies have already begun breeding beetles, crickets and locusts for food. Even here in the United States advocates are pushing the concept. The entomology department of Iowa State University posts online nutritional information about eating insects, while numerous cookbooks, including Creepy Crawly Cuisine: The Gourmet Guide to Edible Insects by Dr. Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, tout the wisdom and sense in eating earth’s most abundant terrestrial animal resource and offer recipes like fried grasshoppers, ant larva tacos and mealworm cookies. Eminent entomologists, like Dr. Gene R. DeFoliart, a bug-eating advocate at the University of Wisconsin well-known to many in the insectivorous community, also vouch for insects as food. And some high-end restaurants, like Mezcal in San Jose and the increasingly famous Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport, are putting insects on their menus.

Here's the logic;

The lower we eat on the food chain, the more sustainable our diets become. The invertebrate level is a good place to settle down and make a meal, for these spineless species are excellent processors of energy. On average, invertebrate species utilize 20 percent of assimilated energy (i.e.. food ingested and not pooped out) for growth and reproduction. Vertebrates, by contrast, use just 2 percent of assimilated energy for growth and reproduction, the balance being used for nothing but fueling motion and metabolism.

Rootworm beetle dip anyone? How about Banana worm bread meal worm fried rice?