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Clinton Grants $1 Million To Edible Insect Farmers

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the dub-thee-sir-buzzalot dept.

Canada 277

An anonymous reader writes "Former US President Bill Clinton, through the Clinton Global Initiative, has awarded $1 million to a group of Canadian MBA students who are looking to solve urban hunger by feeding people insects. The students will use this as seed money for their start-up, Aspire Food Group, which aims to farm, produce, and sell edible insects as a way of solving world hunger, particularly in slums. Aspire says it will even work toward replacing livestock farms with insect farms in some areas." Insects as food aren't necessarily incompatible with conventional livestock, either.

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277 comments

Yecch! (1, Troll)

mcgrew (92797) | about 7 months ago | (#44961923)

Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

Re:Yecch! (4, Informative)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#44961973)

Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

It's possible that you won't have a choice.

Re:Yecch! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962051)

Why would you think that?

but don't expect them to do as they say... (-1, Troll)

Thud457 (234763) | about 7 months ago | (#44962143)

DEMOCRATS say "You WILL eat bugs."

Re:but don't expect them to do as they say... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962209)

It would have been shorter for you to state you are crazy.

HEADLINE (5, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 7 months ago | (#44962291)

ftfh:

Clinton Grants $1 Million To Edible Insect Farmers

why would anybody want to eat insect farmers?

Re:HEADLINE (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 7 months ago | (#44962503)

I want to know how many edible insect farmers we're getting for the million dollars. If the final cost per pound is higher than for a cow steak, why bother?

I guess this does help with AGW, doesn't it? Lower carbon footprint for the dominant species on the planet. But why limit it to insect farmers? Why not eat politicians (once they've been suitably marinated in a politician tenderizer and maybe cubed)? Lawyers. Yes. Lawyers, but they'd have to be ground to be digestible.

We can all be true humanitarians, at last.

Re:HEADLINE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962777)

Cost per pound is far lower than farm raised beef/pork/chicken, and you can get a full harvest of MILLIONS of grasshoppers, process them into various products and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. I've eaten a deep-fried tarantula, tasted a bit like a cream cheese wanton with a bit of zing. Freaked me out at first too, but really it's not all that bad honestly. Most of it is a stigma that people have been living with in 1st world countries because until relatively recently, commercial insect farming wasn't very easy to do and have been limited to cattle/pigs/chicken/fish.

Re:HEADLINE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962793)

A few million grasshoppers will mature in a matter of months compared to YEARS for most animals to properly mature for consumption.

Re:HEADLINE (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 7 months ago | (#44962875)

Even steer/cattle doesn't live for 'years'. Sometimes 'year', sometimes 18 months. Often less.

Young animals are better eating then old.

Re:but don't expect them to do as they say... (0)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about 7 months ago | (#44962889)

DEMOCRATS say "You WILL eat bugs."

REPUBLICANS say you won't eat at all [nytimes.com] /irrelevant-political-slam-rebuttal

Re:Yecch! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 7 months ago | (#44962269)

Insects for us, more steak and lobster for the Clintons, et al.

Re:Yecch! (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 7 months ago | (#44961991)

That's your call to make.

While I've never eaten grasshopper, spider, or cricket, I do know people who have eaten them and they say that it doesn't taste that significantly different. Apparently, locusts taste like chicken.

Esgargots are similar to squid, I find... they don't really have much flavour on their own and get most of their flavour from how they're prepared. Fried up in garlic and butter, they're quite tasty.

Re:Yecch! (2)

Nadaka (224565) | about 7 months ago | (#44962131)

not all that different in concept than eating shrimp, crabs, or crawfish.

The thing that bothers me the most about it is that insects look like they contain a lot more gut and chitin, and a lot less meaty morsels compared to the other multi-limbed critters we eat regularly.

Re:Yecch! (2)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 7 months ago | (#44962215)

The thing that bothers me the most about it is that insects look like they contain a lot more gut and chitin, and a lot less meaty morsels compared to the other multi-limbed critters we eat regularly.

They do. That's one of the reasons I've never eaten insects, despite having been in parts of the world where they are a part of the normal diet. And that's also something we don't consider in the western world: spiders are considered a delicacy in Thailand. Anything being discussed here is stuff that's already been proven healthy/safe to eat, just that it's kind of squick for people used to a different diet.

Larger insects do have more meat, though, and stuff like grasshoppers/locusts are more meaty to begin with. Ultimately, it's about improving protein availability, and we may not have a choice if the population continues to increase. If you're able to eat meat on a regular basis, you're part of the 1% in the world....

Re:Yecch! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962247)

Larger critters like big jungle spiders seem like they would be fine. Seems more ethical as well than eating meat, which I do.

Re:Yecch! (5, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962163)

I would bet money you have eaten plenty of insects in your life. You may not have noticed, but check out how many insect parts are allowed in various kinds of processed foods one time.

Re:Yecch! (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 7 months ago | (#44962775)

As someone who does eat insects and worms, it's kind of a big difference between eating a ground up insects as part of a baked cake; and eating a bowl of spiced and sauteed mealworms.

You can buy flower that is made with insects and mealworms from many "fancy pants" stores to make a chocolate frosted cake, but it's a bit different when you got a pile of worms on your plate.

Re:Yecch! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962837)

Is it a very pretty flower?

Can you recommend any that have actual meat like texture to them? Seafood like would be fine too. So far my experience has been totally crunchy or like the worlds worst custard inside with insects.

How about shrimp? (3, Informative)

EzInKy (115248) | about 7 months ago | (#44962021)

Shrimp are, after all, arthropods. Some even call them "insects of the seas."

Re:How about shrimp? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962425)

In my favorite preparations they still have the shells which I quite enjoy. I wonder if there are similar sized and flavored insects available on the market.

Re:How about shrimp? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962925)

Except that earthly insects are just shell filled with guts and other disgusting black 'ink' that stink. Name one insect that has a big meat part like shrimp.

Re:Yecch! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962035)

Escargo isn't bugs. They are mollusks.
 
Perhaps you would sing a different tune if you were starving in the slums.

Re:Yecch! (2)

rhyder128k (1051042) | about 7 months ago | (#44962273)

Personally, I've no problem with it, particularly if insect derived food were processed. For example, it could be presented in the form of burger. Having said that, I'd probably get used to seeing insect shaped food. Particularly if it were cheap and nutritious and tasty. I'm certainly willing to give it a go. Maybe one day we'll all be telling our grandchildren, to their horror, that we used to eat things that looked recognisably like the leg of an animal.

Re:Yecch! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#44962459)

Eat bugs? No thanks, I'll stick to birds, fish, and mammals. No escargo or grasshoppers for me, thank you.

Escargots aren't insects...

You have been eating bugs in minute quantities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962471)

The FDA allows some insects to be in food with in limits. [fda.gov]

Example:

CORNMEAL Insects
(AOAC 981.19) Average of 1 or more whole insects (or equivalent) per 50 grams

Just search 'Insects" and see that all foods allow for some bugs to be in there.

Re:Yecch! (1)

plopez (54068) | about 7 months ago | (#44962541)

yum.... mechanically seperated beef, chicken, and pork product. Nothings says "tasty" like red sludge...

Re:Yecch! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962723)

You didn't RTFA. They're planning on feeding this to livestock.

Naturally (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#44961941)

The financial bullies are now getting around to making their favorite punching bags eat a bug.

Re:Naturally (2, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 7 months ago | (#44962635)

Exactly. You can't solve hunger with cheaper food, except perhaps in the case of getting more bang for your buck when making a charitable food donation.

In a capitalist system it just leads to higher profit margins or lower wages. [wikipedia.org]

God and Cockroaches (5, Funny)

Surak_Prime (160061) | about 7 months ago | (#44961943)

Human teeth show every sign of being shaped, at least in part, to consume insects, and we possibly developed long fingers to dig them out of hiding places, too. I'm not religious, but sometimes I can't help but think of a monkey-like God looking down on all of mankind's problems with famine and hunger and yelling, "For My sake, mankind, I gave you the cockroach! An unlimited food source - you can't wipe the little bastards out if you try!"

Re:God and Cockroaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962047)

Thank you for that mental image, I will be sending people to your comment for days to come. :-D

Re:God and Cockroaches (4, Informative)

guruevi (827432) | about 7 months ago | (#44962123)

Even though insects are indeed edible and can be quite good (try them roasted or chocolate covered), TFA talks about using this product as a cheap replacement for animal feed for both livestock and fish farms. Currently livestock is fed reprocessed livestock leftovers which causes several problems. One, it's expensive to reprocess this into a healthy mix two, it's not very efficient. If you do it wrong (which is the case in a lot of 3rd world countries), you could help spread stuff like Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease or FMD among your livestock. Additionally (if you're into that) the current processes are not organic so organic products cannot process their own waste.

According to the article, the larvae of these insects eat 90% of whatever you give them, once they're fat, you throw them in an oven and they become toasty bits to feed.

Re:God and Cockroaches (4, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 7 months ago | (#44962285)

Just watch, if cockroach burgers ever get popular, prices will soar and we'll hear all about how hard they are to raise and how they're in short supply.

Re:God and Cockroaches (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962621)

At which time we will simply move on to Norway Rat Sammiches and call it a night.

Re:God and Cockroaches (1)

c (8461) | about 7 months ago | (#44962633)

think of a monkey-like God looking down on all of mankind's problems with famine and hunger and yelling, "For My sake, mankind, I gave you the cockroach! An unlimited food source - you can't wipe the little bastards out if you try!"

I think God might have underestimated mans (and Monsanto's) ability to fuck up a perfectly good source of food...

I look forward to KFC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961961)

Kentucky Fried Cockroach.

Because... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 7 months ago | (#44961963)

...the proles need to eat something...

Re:Because... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 7 months ago | (#44962087)

And the party needs someone to control. At least the proles and animals are free. Besides, where is one to get shoelaces and razor blades if were not from the proles?

70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44961995)

They are developing a flour that is 30% ground insect ( farmed local varities of insects ) and 70% ground grain. In local tests the people enjoyed the 30% version and thought it tasted better than either 100% grain flour or the 90% grain 10% insect flour.

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 months ago | (#44962171)

Current FDA regulations allow up to 10% insect parts in "wheat" flour and up to 10% insect parts in "beef" hamburg. Don't ask about allowable rat shit content.

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

cusco (717999) | about 7 months ago | (#44962525)

Are you sure you've got the decimal in the right place? It used to be 0.10 %, or 1 tenth of one percent. Not sure when it would have changed that dramatically.

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 7 months ago | (#44962669)

Yeah if it was 10% you could bet your ass there would be industrial-scale bug farming going on, and it wouldn't be that easy to hide.

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 7 months ago | (#44962761)

The current defect levels handbook doesn't appear to say anything about mass. It says a maximum average of "74 insect fragments per 50 grams" for wheat flour.

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | about 7 months ago | (#44962463)

what study/project is this?
And are they intentionally adding the insects, or just not throwing out weevilly grain and seeing how much people will tolerate?

Re:70% ground grain 30% ground insect flour (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962927)

They are intentionally adding the 30% ground insects to increase overall nutritional value of the flour.

From the article

Aspire will grind up preferred local insects (crickets in Kenya, grasshoppers in Mexico) and add them to cassava, corn, or wheat flour. The result, "tastes extremely similar to pure flour," the group's website states.

From CBC

Aspire has already held taste tests in some markets. In one test, they offered people tortillas made from regular corn flour, corn flour containing 10 per cent cricket flour and corn flour containing 30 per cent cricket flour.Taste test yields rave reviews “Amazingly enough, we got raving reviews for the latter two so it turns out that people either find it to be tasting neutral or even better than products that are made with traditional corn flour.”

Insect eating elitist-meme (3, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 months ago | (#44962005)

There's been a lot of this going around lately. From whence came the insect-eating meme? There's a woman I see in a coffee shop sometimes. She's an environmental activist, best known to me for manning the anti-GMO petition campaign in California, which failed. She mentioned eating insects that last time I saw her. I was like, OK... there's a meme going around, since environmental activists often rub shoulders with the same elite circles in which Clinton is involved.

The $64 trillion question is, "Can anybody trace the origin of the meme?". Yeah, people have been eating insects for thousands of years, and there have probably been much earlier suggestions that Westerners try it. I'm talking about a dramatic recent upswing though. What catalyzed it?

Re:Insect eating elitist-meme (5, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | about 7 months ago | (#44962219)

There is a long term trend towards sustainable farming practices. Cows take up vastly more land per lb of protein produced. The trend is to try and move primary protein source towards something more efficient, like sheep or chickens. But you don't get much more efficient than insects.

Re:Insect eating elitist-meme (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 7 months ago | (#44962681)

So you're arguing that cows take up vastly more land per lb of protein produced vs roaches? I concur. I've never once seen hundreds of cows infesting section 8 housing.

Re:Insect eating elitist-meme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962277)

Honestly, what else do you expect from a future that is heavily engineered, computerized and GM'd but a buggy diet and life?

Re:Insect eating elitist-meme (1)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 months ago | (#44962565)

The $64 trillion question is, "Can anybody trace the origin of the meme?". Yeah, people have been eating insects for thousands of years, and there have probably been much earlier suggestions that Westerners try it. I'm talking about a dramatic recent upswing though. What catalyzed it?

The recent media attention and resulting zeitgeist came about because of a recent report by the U.N.'s Food and Agricultural Organization, Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security. [fao.org] As an issue that ties well into concerns about food security & poverty, animal welfare, greenhouse gas reduction, and openness to food options eaten in other parts of the world, the issue has become a bit of a liberal hot topic.

("Elitist" is a bit unfair, though. Most of the buzz, if you'll pardon the pun, is from people who are curious about trying it themselves to see if it is a good idea to popularize to tackle a number of issues that are of mass social concern to them.)

I'll take my $64 trillion now. :-)

Re:Insect eating elitist-meme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962625)

Those fucking environmentalist elitists. They secretly control the world, you know!

Hey! (3, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | about 7 months ago | (#44962013)

Bugs aren't vegan.

Re:Hey! (4, Interesting)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 7 months ago | (#44962073)

Is murdering 100 thousand grasshoppers more ethical than one steer? The implications!

.

Re:Hey! (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962313)

Yes. The steer is likely able to understand it has a future and feel pain as you do, and much of everything else we expect of mammals. The grasshopper not at all.

I know you were trying to be funny, but this meat eater thinks you are being quite foolish. There ethical implications to eating meat, the biggest one right now being how terribly those animals are treated.

Re:Hey! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 7 months ago | (#44962903)

What we need to do is breed a steer that wants to be eaten, a la Restaurant at the End of the Universe!

And this mostly-vegetarian thinks that the biggest ethical problem with eating meat is that the way animals are currently raised for meat basically has them eating things they aren't really supposed to (e.g. corn to grass-eaters, and cannibalism), which is both bad for the animals and bad for us. The cramped conditions and abuse and such don't help.

Re:Hey! (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 7 months ago | (#44962781)

Is murdering 100 thousand grasshoppers more ethical than one steer? The implications!

Depends...are they chocolate-covered?

Re:Hey! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962097)

Neither is eating flower with bugs ground up in it, but most vegans will eat that for protein. The real question is, are insects sentient?

Re:Hey! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962115)

Clinton loves his Bug Macs.

Re:Hey! (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 7 months ago | (#44962227)

Who knows what sort of lifeforms there are in the Vega system - it is after all 26 light years away.

Re:Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962265)

Bugs aren't vegan.

Of course not! I've seen bugs eat meat and other animal products all the time!

Although, I think grasshoppers are - they only eat plants - right? They are thin enough to be vegan and they talk funny too. And that Jimmy The Cricket is pretty sanctimonious. He is definitely got the attitude of a Vegan!

Re:Hey! (2)

Garridan (597129) | about 7 months ago | (#44962497)

Especially if you feed them chickens. Weird quote from the article:

He's turning the larvae loose on some leftover bits of chicken. "The bugs consume this material. Probably 90 percent of the material is consumed, and all that's left is a little bit of bone and sinew and fur."

Um. Wut. Somebody sold him a strange chicken indeed, if it had fur.

Oblig XKCD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962053)

http://www.xkcd.com/1268/
close enough!

better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962095)

Shitting out fewer kids that slum dwellers cant afford to feed would be a better start.
Better yet, I'd be more amused to see Clinton dining on worms for 3 meals / day for a year.

Marie Antoinette (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 7 months ago | (#44962185)

Marie Antoinette is looking pretty good now, isn't she?

Re:Marie Antoinette (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 7 months ago | (#44962487)

Why?
Because you think she said something about cake?

She said let them eat brioche, which in that situation made sense. French law at the time set the price for normal bread and to prevent bakers from not selling it they were required to sell brioche for that price if they ran out of normal bread.

Wrong way around, I think (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962197)

Whether some edible source of food is popular or not is a matter of public perception and PR, and focusing on giving bugs to poor people is probably going to result in many people refusing the help and the general public continuing to think of bugs as a disgusting food source. If they started with creating foods (e.g., burgers, "fingers"), good advertising, taste tests, etcetera, it's at least possible they could build some actual desire for the food rather than have it fighting a popularity contest with starvation.

Conversion Rates of insects is better. (4, Interesting)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about 7 months ago | (#44962245)

Compared to cows, pigs and chickens some insects, especially in larva stage can convert plant cellulose and starches into proteins and fats many times more efficiently. This is the real benefit. In some cases this is more efficient than processing the plants for human consumption. Take corn as a feed, it is very inefficient for humans to ingest it but feed it to some insects and they will convert it at a very high rate.

We are not talking about insects being the equivalent to a Shmoo which reproduces asexually and only consumes air, but it makes sense to add them to agriculture. What I do not like is the premise that it could feed the poor, however they may be on to something with this approach also. During the second world war when the Nazis used slave labour from concentration camps they fed the slave on potato peels and vegetable top waste from the soldiers mess kitchens. When the SS doctors suddenly realized that the slaves that were there to be worked to death were actually getting to be healthier than the soldiers the practice was stopped and the slaves were then put on a deliberate starvation diet.

Just maybe our opulent fat diet of animal proteins and refined starches will make the rich who can afford it less healthy than the insect eating peons and lower class workers in the city slums.

Re:Conversion Rates of insects is better. (1)

phoenix_rizzen (256998) | about 7 months ago | (#44962603)

http://www.trunews.com/flour-made-insects-wins-1m-mcgill-team/ [trunews.com]

They're grinding the bugs into flour and combining it with whatever the local flour is (corn, wheat, whatever), thus fortifying it with iron and protein. And it's gluten-free to boot (if added to already gluten-free flour).

No mention of using 100% insect flour, though.

Will be interesting to see if their "bug-fortified" flour will be less expensive than plain flour.

Re:Conversion Rates of insects is better. (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 months ago | (#44962957)

I don't even think it matters how cheap it is. It won't stop people from starving in third world countries. Even if the food is free, you still have to get it to the impoverished nation, which can cost quite a bit, especially with inland areas. Sure they could cultivate their own land, farm their own bugs, but they could do that with the crops and livestock we currently have. The reason they don't is because their who system is completely messed up. You could have a farm, but someone could come around and burn all your crops, and kill all your livestock because there is no rule of law. Lack of food isn't really a supply or cost issue to do with the food itself, but more a problem with the way the social and political systems are set up where people are starving.

Clin-Ton (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962287)

We must go forward, not backward. Upward, not forward. And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

This is news? (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 7 months ago | (#44962293)

That insect farmers are edible, I thought, was already established. I guess that Clinton is giving money is news enough...

Haiti (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962381)

Meanwhile, the people of Haiti that Clinton helped raise BILLIONS for are still shitting their brains out with cholera in tent cities.

Priorities, Bill.

Let Them Eat Maggots! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962441)

Scumbag Bill Clinton

Gives $1 million away to foreigners.

Feeds insects to poor people.

Chicken fur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962591)

From the referenced article:

He shows me a new experiment: He's turning the larvae loose on some leftover bits of chicken. "The bugs consume this material. Probably 90 percent of the material is consumed, and all that's left is a little bit of bone and sinew and fur."

-- hendrik

How to eat an insect in 5 easy steps (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 7 months ago | (#44962649)

- pour shot of tequila
- sprinkle dash of salt on back of hand
- hold slice of lime in fingers
- pick up shot with right hand while throwing salt over shoulder and simultaneously squeezing lime in left eye
- While pain in eye has you distracted, toss insect in mouth and chase with tequila.

Elitist bastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#44962839)

He wants poor people to eat bugs while he eats meat. What are poor people made of? Meat.
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