17 September 2013

Eat More Bugs

But... Why?

The UN announced that we, in a last ditch effort to maintain supremacy of the planet, should eat more bugs. According to the UN, insects are "...nutritious [and] have a lot of protein."

They also go on to say that insects are "considered a delicacy in many countries" which is tremendous. It's also the reason that I drink a bottle of grain alcohol with a dead snake inside of it once a fortnight. 

It's a delicacy!

Then I follow that up with one of those eggs with the dead duck embryo inside. 


Like everyone else, I've been two steps ahead of the UN the entire time.

But How?

Another governing body, the FDA, sets forth guidelines on allowable defect levels in food. The Internet has covered this extensively. Suffice it to say, you're eating lots of bug legs and "grit" on the regular.

With this in mind, I thought I'd examine my peanut butter consumption. Let's say on average, I eat two tablespoons of peanut butter almost every damn day. Forever. 

According to the back of the jar, two tablespoons of peanut butter weighs 32 grams. 

According to the FDA's defect level guidelines, peanut butter is allowed to average 30 insect fragments per 100 grams before it becomes an actionable item. Reassuringly, insect fragments can come from pre and/or post harvest and/or processing infestation. 

If I eat 32g of peanut butter every business day, then I've eaten 32g of peanut butter roughly 250 days a year. That works out to 8000 grams of peanut butter.

On a side note that's almost 18 pounds of peanut butter. 

Assuming that most manufacturers run right up against that 30 allowable parts per 100 grams, then that 8000 grams of peanut butter could contain up to 2400 "insect fragments".

The FDA is unclear on what constitutes an "insect fragment" but I assume it's anything that could construe "bug parts". If it's legs, then in the last year I've eaten the legs off of four hundred insects. If it's strictly antennae, then I guess it could be the antennae off of 1200 insects.

I'm going to give myself a minute to consider this. 

That's A Lot of Insect Fragments

I don't think I can muster anything more than a shrug, here. If I've been eating peanut butter my entire life then I've surely eaten many, many more insect fragments along the way. That means I've been engaged in a low level of entomophagy before it was cool.

You probably haven't heard of it - it's called entomophagy? It's like, eating bugs? It's kind of mainstream now but I like their earlier stuff better. 

Your move, UN.

Post Script

If the FDA raised the allowable limits for insect fragments in all food items, then we could drive food costs down by having more relaxed inspection guidelines *and* drive insect consumption up by having more bugs in everything we eat. 

Capitalism. Boom.

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