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

Professor Louw Hoffman said black soldier fly’s larvae, which was alreadyutilised 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 contentis as high as that of milk.

“Their nutritional composition makes them an interesting contender as a meatalternative, and to date they have demonstrated their potential to partiallyreplace meat in burger patties and Vienna sausages.”

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

“The biggest factor that prevents fly proteins being used in our food supplyis 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 onWestern menus.”

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

“There’s a lot of research that’s already been done on black soldier flylarvae as a feed for livestock, but we need to ensure we address safety issuesbefore it can get legs as a human food,” he said.

“This includes understanding the different nutritional profiles of the fly atkey stages of its growth, and the best ways to process the fly to preserve itsnutritional value.

“While the fly can clean up toxic waste including heavy metals, it’s alsorecommended flies bred for human food be fed a clean source of organic waste.”

In addition to its nutrition profile, Professor Hoffman said there were strongenvironmental reasons for humans to eat fly larvae.

It’s estimated that less than half a hectare of black soldier fly larvae canproduce more protein than cattle grazing on around 1200 hectares, or 52hectares of soybeans.

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

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