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Video showing people in Africa eating ‘mosquito burgers’ goes viral: Is it safe to consume insects? | Food-wine News

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A recent viral video showing people in Africa consuming ‘mosquito burgers’ sparked a mix of fascination and bewilderment across social media platforms.

Content creator Krish Ashok highlights this in his latest Instagram reel. He says, “Recently, this viral video showed some people in Africa consuming a mosquito burger. Each patty is made from up to 600,000 mosquitoes that swarm the banks of Lake Victoria during the rainy season.”

He continues, “For those of you who are disgusted by the idea of eating insects, it’s natural to assume that they are not good for health. But I’m afraid you are totally wrong!”

So, what do experts have to say about this?

Ipsita Chakraborty, senior nutritionist at Hungry Koala agrees with Ashok, “Insects pack a nutritional punch, often exceeding the protein content of traditional meats like beef and chicken. They’re a rich source of high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids our bodies need.”

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According to Chakraborty, insects offer a wide range of vitamins, including B12 and riboflavin, and essential minerals like iron, zinc, and magnesium. “Some insects even provide healthy fats, like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and chitin, a type of fibre that supports digestive health,” she says.


How have cultural perceptions of eating insects evolved globally?

Chakraborty explains, “While entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, has been a traditional practice for centuries in many cultures across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Western societies have often viewed it with aversion. However, the tide is turning as more people recognise the sustainability and health benefits of insects as a food source.”

Overcoming cultural barriers and promoting awareness through education and culinary innovation are key to normalising insect consumption.

mosquito burgers, insects Consuming insects can be beneficial for health (Source: Freepik)
Environmental advantages of insect farming and consumption

Insect farming presents a significantly more sustainable alternative to conventional livestock farming. “Insects produce fewer greenhouse gases compared to cattle and pigs, making them a more environmentally friendly protein source,” says Chakraborty.

They also boast an efficient feed conversion ratio, requiring less feed to produce the same amount of protein as traditional livestock. Moreover, insect farming consumes far less water and land, making it a more resource-efficient option.

Key safety concerns associated with consuming insects

Chakraborty says, “As with any food source, safety is paramount. While most edible insects pose minimal risks, some individuals might experience allergic reactions, especially those allergic to shellfish due to similar proteins.”

Insects farmed in uncontrolled environments may carry contaminants like pesticides, heavy metals, or pathogens. To address these concerns, strict farming and processing standards are crucial, she says.

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Ongoing research into potential allergens and the development of safer farming practices are also needed. Educating consumers about proper preparation and cooking methods further ensures safe and enjoyable consumption.

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