There Are Bugs in My Peanut Butter
Last week I was doing a cricket powder protein bliss balls tasting in Byron Bay and a little girl came to me very excited about the treats. She asked me if she could get one of the protein balls. But before I could say anything else she put the whole thing into her mouth and looked up at me with that smiley face.
When I told her there was cricket powder in the protein ball she didn’t understand at the first time. I repeated “Do you know what a cricket is? It’s an insect!”. The little girl looked up at me again but this time with that funny face followed by a “Yew! This is so gross!”.
Since then I started to think how funny people are when they know what we are actually eating. We get very picky when we know what’s on our plates. Same with insects. Many people still have that “ick factor” and I have already heard something like “I would never eat an insect” or “insects are not food for humans” or even “this is disgusting”.
What people don’t know is that they have been eating insects for their entire life. Yes, you are already eating insects without knowing.
Don’t panic. Eating insects is healthy and really good for you!
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) released a report explaining all the health benefits of eating insects for us. Crickets, for example, have up to 69% protein, all the essential amino acids, iron, calcium, vitamin B12 and more. Insects are a high quality protein source, rich in good fats and high in calcium, iron and zinc.
Insects are also a sustainable protein source and could be a protein alternative in the future.
You can read more about the benefits of eating insects at our blog post “10 Reasons You Should Start Eating Insects”.
How many insects are allowed in our food?
Even if they aren’t ingredients, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits a certain amount of insects in food products listed on the Defect Levels Handbook . And it’s not because of the health benefits of it. The reason why FDA listed the allowable limits on “defects” in more than 100 foods is because – despite all advances in pest control technology – it’s still economically impossible to keep them completely out. They say the defects found in food present no health hazard as long as they remains below the “action levels” listed.
Check out a few foods listed:
|Food||Defects allowed by FDA|
|Canned or frozen Aspargus||40 or more thrips per 100 grams|
|Berries: Drupelet, Canned and Frozen (blackberries, raspberries, etc.)||10 or more whole insects or equivalent per 500 grams (excluding thrips, aphids and mites)|
|Frozen Broccoli||60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams|
|Canned Citrus Fruit Juices||5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml|
|Cornmeal||1 or more whole insects (or equivalent) per 50 grams|
|Canned and Dry Mushrooms||Over 20 or more maggots of any size per 100 grams of drained mushrooms and proportionate liquid or 15 grams of dried mushrooms|
|Salt Cured Olives||10% or more olives by count with 10 or more scale insects each|
|Canned or Frozen Spinach||50 or more aphids, thrips and/or mites per 100 grams|
|Wheat Flour||75 or more insect fragments per 50 grams|
See the entire list here!
There Are Bugs in Food You Eat Everyday
Think about something you like to eat… Peanut butter! Yes, we all love peanut butter on toast. But would you still eat it if I tell you there are bugs in your peanut butter jar?
According to the handbook 100g of peanut butter contain an average of 30 or more insect fragments. Ground cinnamon can contain up to an average of 400 insect fragments per 50 grams. And there is also insects in chocolate: an average of 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams. You don’t even need to order a bug burger to eat insects. Following FDA guidelines, If you add spinach to a burger you are already eating 50 or more aphids, thrips and/or mites per 100 grams. Or perhaps you feel like having thai curry for dinner tonight. Just so you know your curry powder has an average of 100 or more insect fragments per 25 grams.
There is nothing wrong with eating insects other than your perception. More than a quarter of the world’s population is already eating them by choice. Eating insects sounds weird to westerns but once you get over that “ick factor” I’m sure you will enjoy having cricket cookies or a cricket protein ball as a snack.
Now that you know you have been eating insects in your food why not give them a go by choice?