My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says Insects is the Meat for the next 20 years

Monday, May 13, 2013

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says Insects is the Meat for the next 20 years

21 Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
22 Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.

Leviticus 11 vs 21-22, King James Version

In my blog article entitled “Sparky's Homemade Cicada Ice Cream - Yendi Phillips in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” I’d predicted the coming of Insects as a possible replacement for Meat Protein in the human diet. Well today I’ve got the support of no less than the UN (United Nations) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Today Monday May 13th 2013, they which released a 200 page report support this very same idea of using Insects as a replacement for Meat to guarantee Food Security as the World’s population grows as stated in the article “UN urges people to eat insects to fight World hunger”, published 13 May 2013 Last updated at 13:00 GMT, BBC News and “UN says: why not eat more Insects?”, published Monday, 05.13.13 BY FRANCES D'EMILIO, ASSOCIATED PRESS reprinted in the Miami Herald.

According to the Rome based agency, to paraphrase their report in point form:

1.      Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly
2.      Low environmental footprint
3.      They provide high-quality Protein and nutrients when compared with Meat and fish i.e. rich in copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, and are a source of fiber
4.      Important as a food supplement for undernourished children

The UNFAO further states that it would be a more efficient way to use farm lands as Insects are more efficient at converting feed, stating the following conversions averages for Insects and cattle:
1.      Insects convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of Insect mass
2.      Cattle convert 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilo of Meat

They also have a higher nutritional value as can be seen from the chart below:

The World’s population could continue to be fed on the dwindling arable Land resources without further degradation of the Forested areas which are needed for chopping down more rainforest or make in the deserts arable to grow cattle for Meat. Note the focus is on Cattle and Meat production from domesticated animals like Goat, cows, pigs, etc. An indication of our insatiable dietary demand for Protein, which our current arable Land cannot continue to sustainably supply or satisfy and the direct focus of the UNFAO’s 200 page report.

This fits perfectly with the January 2011 comments of Dr. Arnold van Huis of Wageningen University in the Netherlands in defense of eating Insect Protein as stated in the article “Save the planet: Swap your steak for bugs and worms”, published Tuesday Jan 18, 2011 6:02am EST by Ivana Sekularac, Reuters.

According to the Professor, Insects:

1.      Have more Protein than cattle per serving
2.      Cost effective to raise and process in terms of food and water
3.      Are efficient converter of Carbohydrates and Plant Fibre into Protein
4.      Do not produce Greenhouse gas emissions as is the case with cows, goats and Sheep
5.      Contain 90% Protein by weight, compared with 40% for cows
6.      Cattle are responsible for 18% of GreenHouse Gases in the Atmosphere, particularly Methane as noted in the article “Australia's burping cows more climate friendly than thought”, published May 27 2011 by David Fogarty, Reuters

He pointed out that the problem is really mindset, as children and by extension Millennials (ages 18-28) are more accepting of the idea of eating Insects, quote: “Children don't have a problem with eating Insects, but adults with developed eating habits do, and only tasting and experience can make them change their minds. The problem is psychological”.

He further pointed out that it is imperative that Europeans (and by extension the rest of the First, Developed and Developing World!!) begin consuming Insect Protein as, quote: “Meat consumption is expected to double from 2000 to 2050. We are already using 70 percent of our agricultural Land for livestock and we cannot afford to spare more”!

Quite true, as more Land will be needed to feed an estimated 9 billion people in the next 20 years! As Protein’s a major part of our diet, the resources to feed the entire World with our current system of Agriculture just aren’t sufficient to keep up with demand. Agriculture will have to become:

1.      More efficient in our use of Land and Water Resources
2.      Involve more Recycling of Agricultural Waste
3.      Less Fossil Fuel dependent, the main cost driver for Agricultural products
4.      Use more Robotics

This is basically Large Scale Solar Organic Farming done in a Hydroponic (Soil-less) medium under a greenhouse where Water usage is controlled and agricultural waste is recycled for Energy or used to make other VAP (Value Added Products) described in my Geezam blog article entitled “Solar Powered Organic Farming – Sustainable Agricultural Development and Jamaica’s Food Security”. It’s really for growing Vegetables but can be adapted to growing racks upon racks of edible Insects, with recycled agricultural waste such as the leaves left over from reaping being used as their food,

I’d half –heartedly agree with the Professor, were it not for my own qualms about eating Insects, which is that I usually associate them with disease. I assume cooking helps to denature the proteins that are poisonous and harmful bother from poisonous pathogens i.e. bacteria as well as from poisonous the animals themselves produce.

This is the same case with the idea of Eating the Red Lionfish (Pretoria Violantis)  in a bid to save out local fish stock as proposed in my blog article entitled “Rainforest Seafoods vs the Lionfish - KFC iTwist in Yendi Phillip's Emerald Forest”.

But aside from efficiency in food production, we have a more pressing problem: Global Warming. Cattle produce 35% of the planet's methane, 65% of its nitrous oxide and 9% of the carbon dioxide as stated in the article “Insects could be the planet's next food”, published Saturday 2 March 2013 12.23 GMT by Tracy McVeigh, The UK Guardian.

E. Coli to convert Insect Protein to Meat: GMO Bacteria meal for the Bacteriophages

One way in which Insects could be made palatable is via molecular re-arrangement using genetically Modified Bacteria such as E. Coli (Escherichia Coli) that’s been recently Genetically modified to produce Diesel from Starches and Plant Sugars as stated in  Escherichia coli bacteria produce diesel on demand”, published April 22, 2013, This bacteria could munch on the Insect Protein and convert it to Protein we’re already used to in terms of taste, albeit boneless, as growing bones requires calcium and animal genomes.

Later on in the production process, Bacteriophages, similar to the ones described in my blog article entitled “Bacteriophage Therapy from former USSR State Georgia is a potential treatment against Super-bug Bacteria - Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters Panacea to eradicate Bacterial infections”, that specifically attacks this type of bacteria, the E. Coli (Escherichia Coli) in my example, can then be sprayed onto the Meat to kill any remaining GM Bacteria used for the process of the conversion, thereby rendering the Meat fit to eat.

Meat From Insect Protein: Veggie Meat to Insect Meat Conversion

Another way to make Insect Protein palatable is by processing it the same way we process Plant Protein into Veggie Meat, something I know Seventh Day Adventists would love, especially as it agrees with what’s considered edible under Leviticus 11. Crushed Insect Protein can also be pureed and then flavoured with herbs and spices and made into boneless Meat Nuggets, with texturizers to add Meat-like Taste, like Veggie Meat.

This in much the same way Plant Protein is crushed and made in to a Meat-like substitute by a company called Beyond Meat using technology, which launched last year in 2012 as stated in the article Beyond Meat puts real flavor into plant-based Protein, published June 12, 2012 by Antonio Pasolini, Gizmag.

Now it’s 2013 and according to Beyond Meat CEO Ethan Brown, the day is coming where processed plant Protein will be indistinguishable from Real Meat and will in fact not be made from Meat but processed plant Protein as noted in “Beyond Meat CEO: One day eating Meat will have no connection to animals”, published May. 7, 2013 - 9:51 AM PDT by Katie Fehrenbacher, GigaOM and “The Meat of the Future Is an Impostor”, published 05.08.13 6:30 AM By Daniela Hernandez, Wired.

The same way in which Vegetable Protein is processed by Beyond Meats into Meat-tasting and looking substitutes is the same way Insect Protein can be masticated and processed into Meat. As a vegetarian I can’t wait, albeit I hope it isn’t too expensive.

Their efforts are parallel to those of Dr. Koert van Mensvoort, Assistant professor at the Eindhoven's University of Technology, whose team has been working on the idea of growing Meat from scratch under laboratory conditions as stated in the article “Inside the Meat lab: the future of food”, published Saturday 5 January 2013 23.30 GMT by Alex Renton, The UK Guardian and “Lab-grown Meat is first step to artificial hamburger”, published 19 February 2012 Last updated at 20:29 GMT By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News.

The idea is to use cellulosic sugar medium to culture stem cells of Meat Protein taken from cows. The stem cells then grow into Meat, with additional chemicals and lab methods used to make the Meat have the texture, consistency and taste of Meat coming from a cow.

This isn’t just for science, as Dr. Koert van Mensvoort with the support of Dr. Mark Post and some celebrities plan a high profile launch of their product in London later this Summer of 2013 as suggested in the article “Freaked out by horsemeat? Try an in vitro beef burger”, published March 11, 2013 06:01 by Paul Ames, GlobalPost.

Public Relations and Insects on the menu: Are you being Served as your Meal Crawls away

Finally there is the idea of restaurants springing up that cater to serving these delicacies to the few into eating Insects just as they are, in effect making a cultural phenomenon. They, more than anyone, can make eating Insect look like the “new thing” and thus drive interest among the members of any particular society towards eating Insects in their natural form or otherwise mixed into vegetables that we already like. After all, we do ingest a lot of Insects unknowingly, both in our food and in our sleep.

A Good Public relations Campaign, involving Politicians and Celebrities seeing eating Insects as food combined with slick advertising for such products will help to further cement in the public mind the fact that Insect Protein is safe, albeit unattractive.

Food of the Future will be Lab Grown: Soylent Green averted

So along with Lab Grown Meat, Algae and Seaweed grown in the Farm locate in the sea, Insects will soon be on the menu as a staple in the next 20 years as stated in the article “Future foods: What will we be eating in 20 years' time?”, published 29 July 2012 Last updated at 23:09 GMT by Denise Winterman, BBC News Magazine. 

So the UNFAO’s 200 page report is spot on. The Millennials (18-28) may easily adopt and like, but an older Generation X (29-45) and Baby Boomers (45-90) may not like unless it’s made more attractive and tastes good. Soylent Green (1973) may be avoided via Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).

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