June 09, 2011

Kafka would have approved

Grasshopper 3Continuing the theme of food that might scare some: San Francisco health officials won't let Mission District restaurant owner sell grasshopper tacos | abc7news.com. The problem isn't that the restaurant is selling grasshopper tacos, but that they are not imported from an FDA approved source. However, there are no FDA approved sources of grasshoppers.

I tried these tacos when I was there, and they were quite good. Crunchy and with a good taste. Even better, some of my lunch partners didn't finish theirs, so I got theirs too :-) I hope the restaurant can solve the problem, for example by farming the locusts in the US.

Incidentally, the CDC food-borne disease outbreaks database does not contain any reference to any outbreaks due to grasshoppers as far as I can see (there was one outbreak where tarantulas gave 15 people problems - so arthropods are not perfectly safe). I suspect the reaction is more a typical disgust/purity reaction to eating something normally taboo in western culture (this is strengthened by the other story where the Columbia County department of public health advised against using cicadas as food ingredients because the agency's food code doesn't address them).

From an environmental perspective (paper) insects are probably far better meat than most vertebrate meat. But I guess the problem is the small body size; however, using oxygen enriched air insects could grow larger. But maybe that is a bit too much like factory farming? In the long run the proper approach is in vitro meat anyway.

Posted by Anders3 at June 9, 2011 06:57 PM