“Bug Appe’tit!” Directions: The following are two excerpts on eating bugs for nutritionalpurposes. One is from The New York Times…

“Bug Appe’tit!” Directions: The following are two excerpts on eating bugs for nutritionalpurposes. One is from The New York Times and the other from Time. First, readboth excerpts. Next, list the key points cited by the authors to support the ideaof eating bugs as part of a nutritious, wholesome, environmentally friendly diet. If more than one author mentions the same key point, list it only once. Next, write a paragraph summarizing the key points covered in both excerpts. Finally, giveyour opinion on the issue. Would you be willing to adapt your diet to include bugsif they were proven to be both nutritious and environmentally friendly? Florence Dunkel, an entomologist and editor of The Food InsectNewsletter, says: “For most Americans, fear of insects is a social aversion. lt’snot rational. People in other societies were introduced to bugs at an early age.it’s just not the way we grew up.” Which is true, but most of us associate insectswith disease. Mosquitoes cause encephalitis; deer ticks bring Lyme disease; andwe regard cockroaches as unclean. But how dirty are they? As it turns out, not very. While insects carry an abundance of microbial flora, they do not regularly harbor human pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. Put another way, insects don’t seem any more prone todisease than cows, pigs, chicken, or fish, all of which need to be raised and cooked properly. It can also be argued that these insects boost the nutritional content of what we already eat. Bugs compare favorably to traditional livestockin available protein and fatty acids; for some vitamins and minerals, they betterthem by a wide margin. David Gracer, who teaches at the Community College of Rhode Island, feels that consuming insects is both pleasing to the palate and good for the planet. He says: “lnsects can feed the world. Cows and pigs are the S.U.V.’s;bugs are bicycles.” Why douse fields with pesticides if the bugs we kill are morenutritious than the crops they eat? Provocative as that sounds, insects do meet the test of environmentalsustainability; they create far more edible protein per pound of feed than cattle. Moreover, scientists warn that given current consumption, a complete collapse ofglobal fish stocks is possible in the next 40 years. (The New York Times, Man Bites Insect by Sam Nejame, February 10, 2008.) In the U.S., we’re more accustomed to exterminating insects than toeating them, but in scores of countries around the world–including Thailand, where food markets are stocked with commercially-raised water beetles andbamboo worms–bugs have long been a part of a well-balanced meal. insectlovers like David George Gordon, the author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, arguethat entomophagy–the scientific term for consuming insects–could also be afargreener way to get protein than eating chicken, cows or pigs. With the globallivestock sector responsible for 18% of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions
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and grain prices reaching record highs, cheap, environmentally low-impactinsects could be the food of the future–provided we can stomach them. “This isan idea that shouldn’t just be ridiculed,” says Paul Vantomme, an officer at theU.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which recently held an entomophagyconference in Bangkok. The very qualities that make bugs so hard to get rid of could also makethem an environmentally friendly food. “Nature is very good at making insects,”says David Gracer, the founder of future bug purveyor Sunrise Land Shrimp.Insects require little room and few resources to grow. For instance, it takes farless water to raise a third of a pound (150 g) of grasshoppers than the staggering869 gal. (3,290 L) needed to produce the same amount of beef. Since bugs arecold-blooded invertebrates, more of what they consume goes to building ediblebody parts, whereas pigs and other warm-blooded vertebrates need to consume a lot of calories just to keep their body temperature steady. There’s even a formula, called the efficiency of conversion of ingested food to body substance(ECI), that can be used to compare the weight different animals gain after eatinga certain quantity of feed. Beef cattle have an ECI of 10. Silkworms range from 19 to 31. German cockroaches max out at 44. Incredibly efficient to raise, insects are also crawling packets of nutrition. A100-gram (3.5 oz.) portion of cooked Usata terpsichore caterpillars–commonlyeaten in central Africa–contains about 28 grams (1 oz.) of protein, slightly morethan you’d get from the same amount of chicken. Water bugs have four times asmuch iron as beef. Bugs can be tasty too–Gordon swears by his white chocolate and waxworm cookies–but Americans first need to overcome the “eww” factor. We think bugsare dirty, disease-laden or otherwise dangerous to eat–though they’re not, aslong as you cook them properly, are not allergic to shellfish (which, like insects, are arthropods) and aren’t collecting bugs from fields that have been hit withpesticides. We’re revolted by their alien appearance, but then again, lobster could hardly be described as cute and cuddly. And food taboos are not eternal; think of how unlikely it would have seemed 50 years ago that there would be more than9,000 sushi restaurants in the U.S. There’s also the possibility that someday the exploding global population and the damage of climate change could bring aboutthe collapse of our resource-intensive food supply. “At that point,” notes Gracer,”insects could become a pretty attractive option.” (Time, Eating Bugs, by Bryan Walsh, May 29, 2008)


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