Edible insects could solve hunger issues - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Edible insects could solve hunger issues

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Bugs were the all the buzz last week when the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Agency released a report that contends "edible insects" may be the easiest way to meet global food needs.

Dr. Frank Franklin, a nationally known nutrition and pediatrics specialist from Birmingham, couldn't agree more.

Franklin points out health benefits and nutritional value found in insects. He touts the advantages of insects. These include lots of high fat, protein, fiber, vitamin, and mineral content.

He says, all those are important diet components for children in poor countries.

"Five to seven million children around the world die every single year under five years of age," says Franklin. "Under-nutrition is the cause of 50 percent of those deaths."

Franklin says edible insects are an acceptable and convenient source of energy which could serve as a solution to under-nutrition.

"You're talking about a complete protein. You're talking about the right kind of fat, the poly unsaturated fat, and you're largely talking about the iron and zinc which are really the critical nutrients for children's growth," says Franklin.

His arguments for eating insects. They are readily available, highly portable,
and require fewer inputs than most agriculture.

More than one million insect species have been identified and nearly 2,000 proven edible. The most commonly eaten insects are beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, cicadas, and meal worms.

Ultimately, before the rest of the world can grub out on grubs. Franklin says many questions still remain.

"How we're going to produce them? How we're going to produce them cost effectively? How we're going to produce them safely. And to demonstrate that they in fact do what I think they will do, which is sustain the growth of children," explains Franklin.

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