Are Bugs Your New Protein Source
There is a growing movement to promote bugs as the new protein source, but there are concerns about this trend. Several bacterial species have been associated with both farm-reared and wild-caught edible insects, which could have devastating consequences if these pathogens were to infect humans.
The Dangers of Eating Bugs
There are several dangers associated with eating bugs that have not been fully considered by those promoting this new protein source. For one, while pathogenic microbes of insects (entomopathogenic) are considered harmless to humans and animals due to phylogenetic differences, insects can be vectors for various micro-organisms that are detrimental to human and animal health, especially without the proper biosecurity measures in place. Two, there is the potential for harm to humans and the environment if large-scale insect farming becomes commonplace, as it could lead to the overuse of certain pesticides and other harmful chemicals – much like GMOs and certain fertilizers are today.
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Several bacterial species have been associated with both farm-reared and wild-caught edible insects, which could have devastating consequences if these pathogens were to infect humans. One study found that 60% of farmed crickets were contaminated with Enterobacteriaceae bacteria, including E. coli O157:H7 – a strain of bacteria that can cause severe food poisoning in humans. In addition, a number of studies have found that farmed insects are often contaminated with heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and mercury. While most of these contaminants are not thought to pose a significant health risk when consumed in small quantities, they could be dangerous for young children or pregnant women who consume large quantities of bugs on a regular basis.
The Environmental Impact of Insect Farming
Insect farming also has the potential to harm the environment if it is not done properly. Large-scale insect farms would require large amounts of water and land, which could put a strain on local resources. In addition, these farms would likely need to use pesticides and other chemicals in order to keep pests under control. If these chemicals were not properly regulated, they could leach into groundwater or nearby streams/lakes, causing serious environmental damage.
Before you start adding bugs to your diet, it’s important to consider the potential risks involved. While there is still much we don’t know about the long-term effects of consuming bugs on a regular basis, there is evidence that suggests eating bugs could be dangerous to your health due to contamination with pathogens or heavy metals. In addition, large-scale insect farming could have a negative impact on the environment if not done properly. Before you make the switch to buggy proteins, make sure you understand all the risks involved.
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