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About the Insects for Food and Feed category

Insects are an often-overlooked food and feed source. In many areas of the world, they have been eaten for centuries. In 1885, Vincent M. Holt wrote a document called “Why Not Eat Insects?” in which he described historical instances of people who ate insects and considered them a great delicacy. Worldwide, more than 1900 insect species have been used as food (van Huis et al. 2013). Of these, beetles (mostly larvae) make up 31%; caterpillars of butterflies and moths make up 18%; larvae and pupae of bees, wasps, and ants make up 14%; and grasshoppers, locusts and crickets make up 13% (van Huis et al. 2013).

Where insects are not typically viewed as a food source, people often have an internal aversion to eating them. Even so, we all do eat insects, though often unknowingly. Insects are found in small amounts in dry goods like beans and grains, and in food products such as peanut butter. In the USA, the FDAallows a certain number of insect parts in various commodities–for example, peanut butter is allowed an “average of 30 or more insect fragments per 100 grams.” In this case, legislation exists to limit the number of insect parts.