Few schoolchildren know the word ‘entomophagy,’ but kids in Australia are becoming familiar with the fancy word that means human consumption of insects.News.com.au reported last week that 1,000 Australian schools have added chips containing crickets to their lunch menu. Manufactured by Circle Harvest, the chips are called Cricket Corn Chips.
A video appeared on Twitter showing children enjoying their Cricket Chips:
1000 Australian schools have just been introduced to their canteens snacks containing bugs. Kids are now munching on chips laced with “eco-friendly” cricket protein made by Circle Harvest. Only a few years ago, we would think this was an April fools prank… pic.twitter.com/Afxfjwv38n
— Evelyn Rae (@_evelynrae) September 9, 2022
“Adelaide, what do you think of the chips?” a man asked one of the two little girls.
“That they’re yum,” she said.
“They’re yum?” the man said. “These chips are great, aren’t they? And these chips are even better because I think they’re better for you, did you know that?”
The children nod in agreement.
“Yeah, you know, that way mum and dad might let you have more chips. Good stuff,” the man continues. “Do you like them Anabelle?”
“Yeah, they’re great,” the man prods again.
Then a woman joins in and asks the children what they like most about the bug snacks they’re eating.
There is a long pause as children search for an answer.
“How much powder it has,” says the little boy, echoed by the one of the girls.
“Yeah? Yeah?” respond the adults excitedly.
“Can you taste the crickets? Did you know they’re made from crickets?” the woman nudges.
The children nod as they continue to eat the chips.
“Did you know they’re made from little insects?” the woman presses, apparently intent on conditioning the children to think of insects as tasty.
“No, but can you taste it?”
The children shake their heads, and the woman tells them that these chips taste just like regular chips.
After a pause, Adelaide says with a smile she can taste the crickets.
“Do the crickets taste good?” asks the man eagerly. The children nod. “Yeah, let’s eat some more crickets,” he digs.
The practice of eating insects by animals as well as humans may be disgusting to some but in many countries, this is still practiced. Human insect-eating is common to cultures in most parts of the world, including Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Eighty percent of the world’s nations eat insects of 1,000 to 2,000 species. In some societies, primarily western nations, entomophagy is uncommon or taboo.
Experts predict that by 2050, the world will need to feed another two billion people requiring 60–70 per cent more food.There are, in fact, many global initiatives to promote human consumption of bugs, most notably, the European Union’s Farm-to-Fork Biodiversity Strategy. The motivation behind the multi-billion dollar initiative is to battle global warming.
“To reduce the environmental and climate impact of animal production, the Commission will facilitate the placing on the market of innovative feed additives that help reduce the carbon footprint, water and air pollution and methane emission of livestock farming” the initiative reads.
The strategy involves reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers while, and land dedicated to agriculture. The plan aims for all rural areas to have access to fast broadband by 2025, to enable digital innovation.
Another plan called the Horizon Europe program will promote research to increase the availability and source of alternative proteins such as plant, microbial, marine and insect-based proteins, and meat substitutes.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, emphasized that the Torah explicitly forbids eating bugs.
“It is by virtue of the mitzvah (Torah commandment) that we were redeemed from Egypt,” Rabbi Berger noted, quoting Leviticus.
For I Hashem am He who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God: you shall be holy, for I am holy.These are the instructions concerning animals, birds, all living creatures that move in water, and all creatures that swarm on earth,or distinguishing between the unclean and the clean, between the living things that may be eaten and the living things that may not be eaten. Leviticus 11:45-47
Rabbi Berger related a parable based on the Bible.
“Adam despaired when he was about to be banished from the Garden of Eden,” Rabbi Berger said. “He had a special status in the Garden since unlike the animals, he was forbidden from eating from the Tree of Knowledge. He was afraid that outside of the Garden, he would be just like all the animals. God despised the snake and therefore told him that he could eat anything, even the dust.”
“So when told Man that he was restricted in what he could eat, that he could only eat from the sweat of his brow, Adam was relieved since, through this restriction, God showed that he still loved Man especially. Animals do not have to cook their food, eat in the field, do not harvest. Man is special.”
“When the Jews left Egypt, God showed his special love for his people by restricting them to clean food. By promoting bugs for human consumption, the EU is showing its contempt for its own people.”