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Black Soldier Fly Larvae – It’s What’s For Dinner

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the United States, a time when, in addition to giving thanks, we think a lot about food. With that in mind we thank Science Daily and the University of Queensland for contributing to this article.
Black soldier fly larvae contains more zinc and iron than lean meat and its calcium content is higher than milk. Less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52 hectares of soybeans. New research has identified the barriers for introducing fly protein into Western human diets as a sustainable, healthy alternative to both meat and plant proteins. Photo of Black Soldier Fly Larvae burgers by ABC Sunshine Coast and Louw Hoffman

 

It may seem a little hard to swallow but the larvae of a waste-eating fly could become a new alternative protein source for humans, according to a University of Queensland scientist.

Professor Louw Hoffman said black soldier fly’s larvae, which was already utilized for animal feed, was a high quality protein.

“Just like meat, it contains all the nutrients humans need for health,” Professor Hoffman said. “The larvae is richer in zinc and iron than lean meat, and its calcium content is as high as that of milk. Their nutritional composition makes them an interesting contender as a meat alternative, and to date they have demonstrated their potential to partially replace meat in burger patties and Vienna sausages.”

Professor Louw Hoffman

Professor Hoffman said the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that two billion people around the world already ate insects regularly as part of their diet.

“The biggest factor that prevents fly proteins being used in our food supply is Western consumers’ acceptance of insects as food,” he said. “We will eat pea or oat milk, even lab-grown meats, but insects just aren’t on Western menus.”

Professor Hoffman has been studying the hurdles that need to be overcome before flies can directly enter the human food supply chain.

“There’s a lot of research that’s already been done on black soldier fly larvae as a feed for livestock, but we need to ensure we address safety issues before it can get legs as a human food,” he said. “This includes understanding the different nutritional profiles of the fly at key stages of its growth, and the best ways to process the fly to preserve its nutritional value. While the fly can clean up toxic waste including heavy metals, it’s also recommended flies bred for human food be fed a clean source of organic waste.”

In addition to its nutrition profile, Professor Hoffman said there were strong environmental reasons for humans to eat fly larvae. It’s estimated that less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae can produce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52 hectares of soybeans.

“If you care about the environment, then you should consider and be willing to eat insect protein,” he said.

The research is published in Wiley (DOI: 10.1111/1541-4337.12609).

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Vothhttps://onpasture.com
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It is detestable for your esteemed publication to join forces with the New World Order Agenda 21 Starvationability Propaganda Machine in advocating for a bug-based diet among your meat-eating, freedom-loving readership.

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