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Why insects aren't on menus in the US and Canada

Date: 6/4/2015

Assistant Professor Julie Lesnik was cited in an article on entomophagy - eating insects.

Tarantula tempura and cricket skewers: Insects could be coming to a menu near you
By Andrew Russell
Globalnews.ca

Entomophagy – eating insects – is nothing new. People in 80 per cent of the world’s countries munch 1,900 different kinds of bugs, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Julie Lesnik, an assistant professor of anthropology at Wayne State University, said that one of the reasons you don’t find insects on the menu in Canada or the U.S. lies in the continent’s early ancestors. “When the peopling of the Americas started happening it was tens of thousands of years ago,” she said. “The entire northern part of our continent was covered in ice, and if you think about finding a food resource at this time insects are not going to be available.” “If you go south, they may have come across these insects. And that’s why in Mexico and through Central and South America we see insect consumption that we don’t see in the U.S. or Canada.” Lesnik said that with each insect comes a different nutritional profile, with the greatest benefit coming from the amino acids found in bugs like crickets. However, if you’re thinking about foraging for ants or worms in the backyard Lesnik said to avoid this as wild insects can have highly concentrated levels of pesticides or other toxins.

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