How bad to eat bugs in food?

  • Thread starter kenny1999
  • Start date
  • #1
kenny1999
235
4
One day I cooked and found a tiny bug in the hot pot, I really did not know how it fell into it and I know that it was simply a matter of luck to find it, then I start to realize that I may have
eaten many bugs over the years unknowingly. Bottom line, how bad would they be?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
russ_watters
Mentor
22,050
9,147
...then I start to realize that I may have eaten many bugs over the years unknowingly. Bottom line, how bad would they be?
Whelp, there are government standards regulating exactly how many bugs and bug parts food makers are allowed to feed you. So, digest that...
 
  • Like
Likes Oldman too, BillTre and Bystander
  • #4
jim mcnamara
Mentor
4,688
3,629
My favorite limit was the limit on frass in flour. This was back in the 1980's, and I think the important people got it removed or renamed in the regulations. People were not happy about a standard limit on insect larval poop in flour. Let's not go into rodent issues...

"How to grow Tribolium castaneum" mentions frass:
https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/mhk/cgahr/spieru/docs/tribolium-stock-maintenance/

330px-Tribolium_castaneum.jpg
 
  • Like
Likes Oldman too, russ_watters and BillTre
  • #5
chemisttree
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Gold Member
3,710
704
So confusing….
 
  • #6
jrmichler
Mentor
1,963
2,502
Bottom line, how bad would they be?
Apparently insects are not only edible, but nutritious and eating them is good for the environment. I have seen several articles on edible insects during the last few years, so I tried searching term insects as food. I got some good hits, including this Wikipedia hit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insects_as_food.

My experiences with eating bugs includes multiple instances of inhaling small bugs while outdoors, plus one memorable occasion on my motorcycle. I had an open face helmet without a face shield that worked very well until the fairing windshield got broken off 1000 miles from home. Then I made the mistake of smiling while driving through a cloud of soft fuzzy flying bugs. The big fat one that smashed on my front teeth was sort of tasteless. I never did figure out what those bugs were because they were too smashed. Side note: The images found by searching motorcyclist smiling bugs are fake because real bugs are smashed flatter and thinner.
 
  • #7
Rive
Science Advisor
2,443
1,859
People have believed for hundreds of years that newts in a well mean that the water’s fresh and drinkable, and in
all that time
never asked themselves whether the newts got out to go to the lavatory.
By Terry Pratchett

Bugs also rare to understands the idea of 'toilet'.

So bugs may be fine if well prepared but food infested with bugs is not the same, regardless of the tolerance of our digestive system.
 
  • #8
kenny1999
235
4
By the way, how bad if we take in chemicals surrounding us consciously? e.g. tiny paint falls from the wall onto the food you don't see, people rub their hands with alcohol gel and some remains on their hand and touch or prepare food and you eat it, endless daily examples that you can imagine
 
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
22,050
9,147
By the way, how bad if we take in chemicals surrounding us consciously? e.g. tiny paint falls from the wall onto the food you don't see, people rub their hands with alcohol gel and some remains on their hand and touch or prepare food and you eat it, endless daily examples that you can imagine
That's a broad and difficult to answer question that is very specific to one's situation and prone to over-analysis and excessive concern. It's important to be able to screen for risks with a cursory evaluation. For example, if you live in an old house with known lead paint and it is in disrepair you might have a potential for harm. But if not, you don't. Fresh air contains something like 30 million particles per cubic meter and it is safe to say that anything that can be airborne is in it. There's no general concern with that, but if you have known respiratory issues you may consider adding/improving your home's filtration.

Hand sanitizer residue should not be a significant risk. The active ingredient is poisonous but evaporates rapidly by design.
 
  • #10
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
6,961
1,591
A smart-alec question as a response: If locusts roam through and eat and destroy crops, can the people just collect and eat the locusts?

More seriously, some bugs are targeted by humans to be eaten, like the Cumil beetle, supposed to have a spicy taste and is used in making sauces.

More practical: On occasion I collect certain edible leafs from the garden and can find tiny black bugs on the bottom. I usually cook these leafs in preparation to eat them, also thereby consuming a few of these bugs. So far no troubles. I do not know the identity of these little bugs.
 
  • #11
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
2022 Award
2,207
7,319
I have eaten locusts, at a lab party of an insect neurobiology lab, which mostly was working on locusts at the time. They bred their own, so they had a good supply.
A Thai guy in the lab fried them up in some spicy manner.
Tasted OK, but the legs (mostly hard cuticle) were too crunchy.

In general, insects are usually considered nutrition and a better use of environmental resources for growing food than something like a cow.
Insect larvae (like solder fly larvae) are easy to grow (on food waste for solder flies) and subsituted for other feeds for a variety of animals.
Screen Shot 2022-01-19 at 3.36.35 PM.png

I have used Drosophila (fruit fly) larvae as food for zebrafish. They are very nutritious and often improve egg production.

This reminds me of Dave Baustista's character Sapper Morton in Blade Runner 2049. He grow large maggots (insect larvae) in indoor ponds (in a pretty low density, space inefficient manner).

Kligons say "Yumm!".
Screen Shot 2022-01-19 at 3.57.03 PM.png
 
  • Like
Likes symbolipoint
  • #12
doc538
1
0
And don't forget all of those juicy Spiders we ingest while sleeping, No wonder I wake up not feeling hungry.
 
  • #13
Rive
Science Advisor
2,443
1,859
Apparently insects are not only edible, but nutritious
Sometimes I wonder about that. Way back mushrooms were considered a good protein source, but once the non-digestible parts got discounted it's just like broccoli and nothing more.
I have doubts every time chitin comes in play.
 

Suggested for: How bad to eat bugs in food?

Replies
3
Views
559
Replies
1
Views
466
Replies
8
Views
814
Replies
4
Views
537
Replies
6
Views
2K
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
4
Views
790
Replies
19
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
694
Replies
1
Views
891
Top