Thursday, October 17, 2013

Eatings insects is good - eating insects is bad

Thailand for sure has no lack of disputes and differing opinions. There is always someone who has a different point of view. That is healthy in debates, but not always useful when it comes to food security.
Remember when the WHO hyped insects as the best protein source ever? Sunstainable, healthy, easy to produce and a income source for farmers.

Insect food

The Ministry of Health in Thailand is now warning of eating bugs.

Dr. Aphichat Mongkol, Director General of the Department of Medical Sciences, revealed that a chemical substance called Histamine can be fatal to those who have ingested too much of it. 
So this is big news? It actually isn't. It is well known that insects contains histamine, and this is the reason why people allergic to bee stings should be careful eating them. Also when you have a seafood allergy you are advised to not eat insects.

A paper published in April 2013 with the title "Edible Insects in a Food Safety and Nutritional Perspective: A Critical Review" could not find particular risk studies regarding insects besides known allergies. 

To our knowledge, few studies have been published on allergic reactions due to insect ingestion. Differences in geographical food traditions can result in differences in food allergy risk.

If you read the statement of the Thai authorities carefully, you will then see this part:
However, ingesting food that is dirty or contaminated with bacteria can cause high levels of Histamine to enter the body. 
So the problem aren't the insects as it, but the way they are produced in some cases. And of course there is a risk of an anaphylactic shock.

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