Thailand urged to explore insect market

May 21, 2013, 12:40 PM EDT
nsect spices and ingredients are displayed at the 'Insects au Gratin' exhibition at the Wellcome Collection on April 23, 2013 in London, U.K.
Getty Images/Peter Macdiarmid

BANGKOK (AP) — Researchers say Thailand is showing the world how to respond to the global food crisis: by raising bugs for eating.

The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization released a study and handbook Tuesday on what they call 'six-legged livestock' — edible bugs and worms that can help meet global food demand that is expected to grow 60 percent by 2050. The agency says they provide a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals.

The study was conducted in Thailand, where insects including crickets, grasshoppers and bamboo worms have long been a part of diets, especially in rural areas.

Entomologist Yupa Hanboonsong says about 200 insect species are eaten in Thailand. Cricket farming alone is already a $30 million industry there, but only a few other species have been commercially marketed.

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